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Reach for Excellence

  • Reach for Excellence
  • 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE
  • Atlanta, GA 30319
  • 2001
  • Karen Dessables
  • Executive Director
  • 770-936-6481

Program Description

Reach for Excellence prepares talented middle school students, who possess limited opportunities and resources, to succeed in college preparatory programs. Through three six-week summer sessions and two years of Saturday courses, the program 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.

Success Stories

Attending an underserved and poorly performing middle school, "G" learned about Reach for Excellence and applied. On her essay, she saw wrote about attending a "very good school in Boston called Harvard" to study law. G and her mother decided to apply to independent schools for high school and G was accepted into an excellent day school with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Sadly, G's mother passed during G's first year at the school. However, G was determined to take advantage of all the opportunities that came her way - from academics to sports to clubs. She graduated with the second highest award from the school, maintained a GPA above a 4.0, scored 4's on her AP exams, was inducted into the National Honor Society, French National Honor Society while being the Varsity Football and Basketball Cheerleader Captain. Today, she is a junior at Harvard, preparing for her LSAT exam and is planning to attending Harvard Law School. With her determination, I am sure that she will study law at Harvard!

Best Practices Library

Set high standards Offer support and guidance Be consistent Be positive Listen and speak softly

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Arts and cultural
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • Community service/service hours
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Race & Ethnicity

  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 4%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 26%
  • Other: 1%
  • African American: 69%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 239
  • Middle School: 339
  • Elementary School: 339
  • Post-secondary: 120
  • Non-traditional: 14

Populations Served

  • Academically High-performing
  • Undocumented Students (5)


  • Between 25% and 50%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Agnes Scott College (3)
  • Boston College (1)
  • Brown University (1)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus (5)
  • Georgia State University (12)
  • Harvard University (1)
  • Stanford University (1)
  • Swarthmore College (1)
  • University of Georgia (7)
  • University of Pennsylvania (1)
  • Yale University (2)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 21%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 21%