...but the concept of REACH (short for high school within REACH) is simple: work with local teachers to inspire ninth graders with the hows and whys of high school and then give them a scholarship when they go.

Our REACH program kicks off every year with a teacher training event. Teachers then take the year-long mentorship program back to their classrooms where their ninth graders use the REACH materials to learn about why high school is so important and how they can go. The ninth graders watch inspirational videos of students from villages like theirs who went to high school and college, and use a workbook with exercises on self-esteem, identity information  and goal setting as well as locations of high school.

During the year, our field staff visit each school twice to meet with both students and teachers to continue to motivate and empower them. The visits also serve to track the progress of the students and to see how much of the program the teachers have implemented.

At the end of the school year, students use the scholarship vouchers they have received from Escalera to enroll in the high school of their choice. High schools send Escalera the vouchers and Escalera pays the enrollment fees for REACH students for their first two years in high school.

Because REACH is run as a randomized control trial, we know exactly how many students go to high school who would otherwise have dropped out if not for REACH. We also use the data and feedback we collected from students, teachers, supervisors, and field staff to make improvements to the next year’s videos, workbooks, and program implementation