Updated May 24, 2019

Foundation Escalera

Role Models, Motivation, & Information to Boost Secondary School Retention


Molly Fisher

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Stage 2: Research & Development

In REACH’s pilot year, the 2013-2014 school year, we found that students who received REACH materials were 6.4% more likely to go to high school than students who did not receive REACH. When a teacher implements the entire REACH curriculum, a student is 10% more likely to continue on to high school. Thus, teacher interest and participation is the driving force behind REACH’s success, motivating us to constantly improve monitoring, support and communication with the schools and teachers. While we are waiting for enrollment data from high schools in Chiapas to evaluate the program’s success in its second year, we have evidence that REACH improves students’ self-esteem and knowledge of high school opportunities.
REACH serves middle school or telesecundaria students. Target beneficiaries are fourteen- to sixteen-year-old male and female students from low-income households who are not expected to continue to upper secondary school. Low-income households are defined as those households whose income lies at or below the government-defined poverty line. This corresponds to families whose monthly incomes are at or below 1,200 pesos/92 USD in urban areas or 851 pesos/65 USD in rural areas.

Registered in Mexico.

Focus Areas:

Education, Youth, Secondary Education and 5 MoreSEE ALL

Education, Youth, Secondary Education, Soft or Life Skills, Mentoring/Coaching, Teacher Development and Training, Mid-Adolescence (15-19) and Young Adolescence (10-14)SEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding

Innovation Description

REACH is a service that delivers a proven, cost-effective method to increase upper secondary enrollment by providing information on financial aid, role models and returns.With DIV support, Escalera is expanding its pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) to more rigorously assess REACH’s impact on upper secondary under-enrollment caused by this returns information gap
How does your innovation work?
REACH is an enrollment service that can significantly increase the social returns to existing government spending on education (e.g. financial aid). As opposed to traditional third sector solutions such as mentorship or scholarships, which only incrementally reduce under-enrollment, REACH offers the public sector a high-return, complementary, scaleable service suitable for adoption as public policy. REACH’s complementarity means that the government can significantly increase the returns to current spending on upper secondary education. For example, through REACH’s enrollment service, the government could increase their social return by 50% with only a 20% increase in spending. For example, of the 60,000 annual middle school graduates in Chiapas, half do not continue on to high school. Of the 30,000 who do not continue to high school, we estimate half (15,000) would go if treated by REACH.

Planned Goals and Milestones

During the DIV grant period (October 2015 - December 2017), Escalera expects to serve 40,320 students and expects to incentivize 2,835 students to attend an additional two years of high school, for a grant period total of 5,670 causally induced years of upper secondary. To achieve our goal, Escalera’s performance target is to ensure at least 85% of teachers implement the program, as defined in the milestones above. In the long-term REACH can dramatically reduce upper secondary under enrollment caused by the information gap in Mexico within 10 years, and in all middle-to-low-income countries in 20 years. Escalera estimates that REACH could serve 14 million students in developing countries and 360,000 students in Mexico annually.
We are using a RCT to test for increased high school enrolment as a result of our program which is partially financed by a Pay-for-Success contract with the government.


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