02/16/2022 RISEing to the challenge


HopeWell is pleased to announce the launch of RISE: Readiness, Inquiry, Scholarship, Education, an innovative program designed to close the academic opportunity gap for children living in foster care by targeting early literacy, a critical intervention point that influences a child’s future academic success. 

The academic opportunity gap for children experiencing foster care is one of the largest gaps for any group of students in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), third-graders living in foster care in the Commonwealth are 2.4 times more likely to not meet English Language Arts MCAS expectations compared to all third-graders in Massachusetts. Just 58 percent of students living in foster care graduate from high school in four years compared with 89 percent of all students, according to DESE. Nationally, less than five percent of youth who experience foster care will earn a post-secondary degree, compared with 49 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. 

Like all children, those living in foster care need and deserve every chance for learning, but due to circumstances beyond their control that does not always happen. School-based educational support programs stop working with children who move to new schools due to foster home placement changes, and most program models are not optimized for the kinds of mental and behavioral health support that children living in foster care may benefit from. 

RISE offers an innovative solution, turning the typical program model on its head. RISE is a home-based service that follows children as they move and incorporates supports for any caregivers involved in a child’s life (e.g. foster parents, biological parents, kinship caregivers). This provides children with continuous academic support, even if they experience changes in where they are living and the schools they attend. 

RISE ensures children are well supported at every educational transition and that families have what they need to promote child learning and educational needs. Tutors and education specialists work closely with children and their caregivers to improve literacy for students in grades K-3 by:

  • Providing consistent, high-impact tutoring through an evidence-informed curriculum, custom designed to meet the unique needs of children in foster care
  • Recognizing the important influence that social and emotional skills and trauma have on learning, and delivering a curriculum that integrates literacy learning, social and emotional learning, and a trauma-informed approach
  • Assessing child strengths and skills and adapting the curriculum to meet their specific learning gaps
  • Supporting caregivers in understanding and promoting their child’s academic progress, and advocating for their child’s unique educational needs
  • Coordinating services, promoting information sharing, and supporting the development of lasting relationships between families, schools, and the Department of Children and Families

RISE is a direct outgrowth of HopeWell’s shift in mindset and workplace culture to become a learning organization that fills gaps in services so that children and adolescents who are involved with the child welfare system have what they need to fulfill their human potential. 

“HopeWell’s approach to programming integrates solutions for systemic change into the day-to-day educational experiences that many youth in foster care confront,” said Peter Newman, Education Director at HopeWell. “This commitment to innovation and experimentation in service of closing opportunity gaps for children in foster care so they can achieve the bright futures they deserve is the work of our time and I’m honored to be a part of it.” 

For more information about RISE, contact Peter Newman at 617-318-5161 or email us at