|When thinking about which students to nominate for REACH, there are both prerequisite and priority factors. Whereas the prerequisites are steadfast, we ask nominators to take the priority factors into great consideration with two overarching elements in mind: (1) the nominator knows the student [and family] best and (2) REACH operates on a value-added model, which means we understand and anticipate the significant gains that can be made over the course of the middle school years.
Below are the academic and financial criteria in order for a student to receive a REACH nomination. The first two bullet points are prerequisites, and the latter two are priority. To receive a nomination, the student must:
The academic criteria for REACH are competitive. Typically, the most competitive REACH nominees have achieved grades of 90 or higher in both the 4th and 5th grade. We focus on Math and ELA, but we also take a holistic look at the entire academic record. For standardized testing, again typically the most competitive nominees are scoring 3s or 4s on NYS Math and ELA exams. We also encourage schools to submit any other standardized testing data available (ITBS, Terra Nova, InView, etc.). The REACH Basic Skills Exam, which is administered as part of our admission process, has no “cut-off” score. It is designed to give our admissions committee one common gauge with which to measure the diverse applicant pool. Typically, REACH students score above the 75th percentile on nationally normed testing. Lastly, we encourage nominators to have all recommenders (principal, Math teacher, ELA teacher) thoroughly and robustly fill out our recommendation forms. We heavily weigh the language and narrative used to describe the nominee.
As far as the mission of REACH goes, we are committed to achieving the nexus of high-achievement and high-need. Although we do not have a strict income “cut-off,” we ask that nominators have an honest conversation with families with respect to their level of need, especially with respect to affording Catholic HS tuition. For a snapshot of the most recently admitted REACH class, 71% of the 50 families earn less than $60,000 in annual household income. No families earn more than $95,000 in annual household income. As stated above, nominators know the student and his family best. In addition to the financial documents required as part of the REACH application, we rely on the nominator’s background knowledge of the applicant to make the most informed decisions with respect to the mission of REACH. Anecdotally speaking, REACH is more likely to seriously consider applicants who are first-generation (i.e. first in their family to attend college in the U.S.), whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) earn less than $35,000/yr.