November 5, 2021
The Achieve Program has just launched the application process for its 2022 summer academic program in which Boston Public School students spend summers at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham engaging in an academic curriculum.
They begin the program in the summer of their 6th grade year and continue participating in it through the college application process in their senior year of high school. During the school year, Achieve students spend two Saturdays a month participating in the program.
Reginald Toussaint, Achieve’s executive director, said the longevity of the program is what separates us from a lot of the others. Some places,” he said, “start and do a heavy focus on giving a lot of academic support for a short period of years, and then they transition to somewhere else, or they give a very specific kind of support—let’s say, test prep or high school placement, or college placement. We’ll make a commitment to each kid that comes into our program that we’ll follow you and we’ll work with you for seven years.
“The summer of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade they get to come to the Noble and Greenough campus and participate in an academic program. There’s also an enrichment part to it. It’s not like the kids are in classes all day, because we know that giving more school doesn’t mean that someone is developing into a well-rounded person.”
The program continues to assist students through their high school careers as well, Toussaint said.
“When they’re in 11th grade, we help them get ready for the SAT, and when they’re in 12th grade, we help them with the college application process,” he added.
Some of the engagement activities are structured, including dance classes and courses on “do-it-yourself” strategies. Others are unstructured, including time in the pool and at the basketball court.
“It’s a beautiful campus, and it opens its doors to the Achieve students in the summer,” said Toussaint, who noted that the program is entirely free for families. “Once a student gets into Achieve, families will never have to pay a dime.”
The program covers the full cost of transportation, meals, and school supplies for all enrolled students. It is open to any Boston Public School student who lives in Boston and can demonstrate financial need.
“We’re not looking for the straight-A student,” said Toussaint. “We’re not necessarily looking for the family that’s interested in going to a private school, and we’ll just help them get into a better private school. We want the kid who wants to do more school and the families who will be responsive.”
The application for the program consists of essays on academic motivation, teacher referrals, and student transcripts. The second round consists of interviews. In addition to offering academic preparation, Toussaint said, the program is designed to be fun.
“Joy is part of our mission statement,” he said. “It’s important to us that our scholars have fun—that they want to come to Achieve. So far in my experience, that’s true.”
The organization hopes to finalize its incoming cohort by March of next year. An open house will be held on Thurs., Nov. 11 from 6-7 p.m. at Noble and Greenough, 10 Campus Drive, Dedham. Go to theachieveprogram.org for more info.