Stoney announces launch of summer learning program aimed to help RPS students


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney proclaimed Thursday “Summer Learning Day” in the City of Richmond.

Stoney joined Richmond Public Schools and the YMCA of Greater Richmond to announce a summer learning program to help students. The Power Scholars Academy targets high-risk students in the City.

“Over the summer, a lot of kids — and particularly kids from low-income communities — don’t have the same opportunities, and so they fall behind,” said Jason Kamras, Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools.

The program is serving 1,000 elementary and middle school students this summer. RPS teachers and YMCA counselors team up to teach academics and enrichment activities.

They also take students on field trips. Transportation for the program is provided by Richmond Public Schools. Tim Joyce, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Richmond, said this is not a typical summer school program.

“We can do academics and we can make it engaging,” said Tim Joyce.

Joyce said the partnership gives many students opportunities over the summer they would not otherwise have.

“They don’t have money to, usually, go to summer camp, to go on vacations, to do enrichment activities like museums and things,” Joyce said.

The program was developed with the help of the non-profit BellXcel, which creates summer and after-school learning programs. 

Kamras said the difference is noticeable when students come back to school in the fall.

“Teachers will see kids that are prepared,” said Kamras.

Walmart announced it is donating $40,000 to BellXcel.

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