5th Grade


The first steps toward college graduation begin in elementary school

The journey to college graduation begins with a vision. Navigating the pathway successfully requires hard work, commitment and sacrifice. It also takes a community.

Students in the fifth grade start with a challenging 14-month Academic Enrichment Program designed to provide the skills and support to thrive in the most competitive academic programs. As members of a cohort, our scholars belong to a community of highly motivated and hardworking peers who share a vision of college success.

Our program

14-Month Academic Enrichment Program

Middle School Support

High School Support

College Support

Academic Enrichment

This initial phase has been designed to prepare and place scholars in college preparatory settings in independent schools and public schools offering highly capable programs. Our scholars receive more than 1,000 hours of academic enrichment, the equivalent of an entire school year beyond their regular school schedule and work approximately 1 to 3 grades above their current level. They develop the skills needed to master advanced content found in college preparatory settings.

Our teachers believe in our mission. They bring expertise in their subject area and a personalized approach that fosters student learning. Combined with small class sizes, this approach creates an environment where scholars discover their true academic capabilities.

The 14-Month Academic Enrichment Program is designed specifically to support high achieving students of color with the full awareness of the challenges that overcoming systemic barriers entails. Our scholars are powerful academically, they are resilient, they know where they come from as well as where they are going, and they are practiced in the pursuit of excellence in all the settings they navigate.

Learn more about our approach.

Program schedule

Summer program

June through August (6 1/2 weeks)

8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

School year

Wednesdays: 3:40 p.m.– 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 8:30 a.m.– 4:00 p.m

“When you teach kids of color like they’re going to be consequential people, they become that.”

Drego Little, Learning Support Specialist, Literature/Writing Teacher

Our curriculum

Literature and writing

Scholars learn to find meaning in rich literature and develop key skills including annotation, questioning, inference, development of sound arguments and summary, as well as confident participation in seminar based discussion. A final project is a 1-2 minute Oratory, where scholars recite a passage from memory in front of a large audience.


Scholars critically examine primary and secondary sources, practice close reading of non-fiction text and develop sound historical arguments.


Scholars study pre-algebra topics and build mathematical thinking and number sense through critical analysis of problem-solving techniques and strategies.


Scholars develop their own experiments and become highly skilled at formulating evidence-based scientific arguments, in addition to studying chemistry, physics and biology and developing lab skills.

Computer science

Scholars develop computer programming skills, technical abilities and a strong base of digital literacy.

Meet a few of our current scholars

Building cultural identity and resiliency

Two key classes help our scholars understand the barriers faced by high-achieving students of color so they can develop confidence and a strong sense of cultural identity to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, tools and resources needed to overcome those obstacles.


This discussion-based class offers a safe environment for scholars to reflect on their own cultural identity, build awareness of negative stereotypes, practice strategies for addressing racism and prejudice while celebrating their own accomplishments and hard work.


Inspired by the poem by William Ernest Henley, this class allows scholars to explore complex issues around race, class, gender and identity, and think about how their environments may shape them and how they will shape their environments.

“You are teaching me how to use my mind and be a good leader.”

Malachi Muzzey, Cohort XV, Mercer International Middle School

Scholarly engagement

Our scholars learn a range of key skills needed to succeed throughout their educational journey. Students develop strategies and set goals through the practice of active learning skills.

Scholars participate in “study tables” where they practice the skills and utilize tools they need to study effectively in a group.

Our scholars are matched with a student advisor, a Rainier Scholars high school or college student who can share valuable experience as they guide and mentor them throughout the Academic Enrichment phase. The advisor brings support in the form of mentorship, friendship, accountability and a sense of community as a fellow student in the program. Student advisors check notebooks, organization, schedules and troubleshoot any challenges that might be getting in a scholar’s way.

More than just hard work

Throughout the Academic Enrichment Phase, our scholars enjoy a wide range of fun, celebratory and community-building activities that strengthen bonds with peers, mentors and teachers. Social gatherings bring families together to create connections, recognize their scholars’ hard work and the role they play in their students’ accomplishments.

Celebrating achievement

Our Academic Enrichment phase culminates with a Rites of Passage Ceremony where we honor all our scholars have achieved with their first steps on the pathway to college.

Return to Our Program

Connect with our community

We walk beside our scholars throughout their journey to college graduation and beyond. Your belief in our work and our scholars enriches our region, developing college graduates and leaders who reflect the diversity of our communities and our world.

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