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Phil Olaleye and NextGenATL Preparing Youth to Succeed

Rose Caplan presented Mr. Phil Olaleye who is leading NextGenAtl.org, Phil is a Duke University undergrad and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. He’s turning all of his enormous energy and smarts to NextGenAtl.org. Phil explained the mission as quite straight forward: To close the opportunity gap for under-resourced students in Atlanta through exposure and support to graduate prepared for college and career. NextGenAtl.org was founded by three educators and focuses on Title 1 schools – a federal program that provides support to schools whose student populations are at least 35% very low income. A key part of the program lies in exposing students to a much wider world than has so far been students’ experiences. Originally, NextGen aimed only at male students but in 2017 included services to girls. Phil shared the story of John. John’s parents are first generation immigrants who moved to Kentucky, then to Atlanta when John was four. John went to a DeKalb County High School where the black student graduation rate was 40%. Phil is committed to providing opportunities for students like John who show many gifts but lack the resources, opportunities, and support needed to fulfill their huge potential. NextGe has recruited more than fifty Exposure Experience Partners, companies and other groups committed to expand visions and create aspirations. Phil promotes any postsecondary opportunity: college, 2 and 4 year, work programs, technical college, military opportunities … anything that will drive students to higher skill, education and career attainment. NextGe works directly with 200 students in several schools including three three high schools, Creekside and Banneker – Fulton Co, and South Atlanta - APS. Success measures include reduced academic losses in the summer months (the so-called “summer melt”), increases in school attendance, enrolling in and staying in postsecondary education programs, and success in employment after high school. As an example, Phil said in the 2019 school year 40 of the students were in one of the three high schools as a part of NextGen - 39 graduated. Phil says NextGen also looks for those “quiet middle schoolers” to make sure they do not get passed over for opportunities from which they could benefit and excel. NEXTGENATL GAMES hosts students for a wide range of exercises – Poetry SLAM, individual and team competitions, postsecondary and career planning, and special trips.

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
April 10, 2020 2:00pm

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