Karen Dessables is Executive Director of Reach for Excellence at Marist School Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She writes from there to share about a fine initiative for students with limited opportunities and resources …
"Reach for Excellence" has begun its 18th year in Atlanta! As a program of the Society of Mary, it prepares talented middle school students, who possess limited opportunities and resources, to succeed in college preparatory programs.
"Limited opportunities and resources" means that the student's family income is "low income". Usually that will also mean that where the family lives, the public school for that area is a Title I school where a certain percentage, determined by the federal government, of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch cost. Many Title I schools have a higher high school dropout rate, the student body as a whole performs below grade level, fewer advanced or college prep courses are offered, and the overall environment is not conducive to educational success.
Through three six-week summer sessions and three years of Saturday courses, the program, hosted at Marist School, provides and reinforces the academic and social skills each student needs to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.Experienced teachers from public and private schools create a unique environment where students learn about academic subjects, their community, each other, and themselves.
Three hundred eighty scholars have graduated from Reach for Excellence beginning in 2003 with Cohort 2003 A to Cohort 2018 P, the most recent group who graduated in July 2018..
Cohort 2018 P attends a number of public and independent high schools including Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, DeKalb School of the Arts, Gwinnett School of Math, Science, and Technology, Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, Lakeside High School, Marist School, Parkview High School, Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire, and Wesleyan School.
Reach for Excellence's 2018-2019 Saturday Session met on February 9, 2019 for Session #12! Classes are scheduled on 16 Saturdays during the school year. One hundred one students attend representing Cohorts 2019 Q – 8th grade, 2020 R – 7th Grade, and 2021 S – Sixth Grade.
Karen A Dessables
For Reach for Excellence website, click here