The Bay State Banner recently featured a story about the Achieve Program to celebrate its impact in helping middle school students reach high school and college over the past 15 years. Below is an excerpt from the article.

When she started in the Achieve Program, Thalita Almondes of East Boston was good at reading, but she struggled in math.

Now three years later, she aces both.

“I’ve loved it,” said Almondes, who is now 13.

She is one of hundreds of middle school students who have participated in Achieve, which is now in its 15th year.

The tuition-free program, whose mission is to close the achievement gap and open access to learning, has helped roughly 400 middle school students get on a path to college or into one of the city’s three competitive exam schools. The program is based at The Noble and Greenough School, an independent boarding school in Dedham.

Of 95 recent graduates of Achieve’s middle school program, all but one are in a high-performing high school, said executive director Reginald Toussaint. He attributes the success of the program to its focus on social and emotional development, small cohort groups to give students individualized attention and extra doses of fun.

“We have a rigorous academic program, but we also include a lot of developmentally appropriate activities for our students,” Toussaint said. “When young people have a chance to feel agency and ownership of what they do, they’re more likely to be engaged.”

But its mission is far greater — it is to give students in marginalized communities every opportunity to succeed, he added.

Click here to read the full article.

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