Student Achievement - The Odds and How We're Changing Them

November 30, 2015

Changing the Odds - To Create Lasting Impact

 

We hear them all the time - especially this time of year - stories of young people who are "at risk" and have somehow managed to "beat the odds."  These stories are inspiring. They give us hope. But this letter isn't telling one of those stories. This letter is telling you how you can help Just Communities change the odds. Every day, we work with educators, parents, and young people to help them develop solutions to the challenges youth face. Solutions that work for them; solutions that transform the systems youth encounter every day; solutions that lower the odds they - and all those that follow - have to beat. 

 

and here's how we do it...

 

● Lifting Up Voices - In 2014 we piloted of our Talking in Class youth program where students come together to identify barriers to students' success, develop recommendations for change, and share those recommendations with school and district leadership. By the end of the 2016 school year Talking in Class will be implemented in every high school and junior high school in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and several high schools in Santa Maria.
 

● Connecting Communities - Our Language Justice Network has been revitalized and is expanding throughout the Central Coast. This is creating a network of activists and change agents in Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Lompoc. This network is also laying the foundation for systems changes in our local schools that will ultimately result in greater parent engagement and improved educational outcomes. 

● Changing the Odds from Coast to Coast - Our approach is grounded in a vision of equity for all and in research about what really works. This combination of vision and evidence is exciting people in the Central Coast and beyond. In the last 2 years communities in big cities such as Dallas and Phoenix and small towns such as Red Wing, MN have sought out Just Communities' expertise and assistance. They are turning to us for support in working with their local school districts to bring an equity lens to efforts to improve outcomes for students from cradle to career. 

 

The Odds - Nationally

 

According to US Census data, for every 100 Latino youth who enter Kindergarten

only 8 will graduate from college

 

The Odds - Locally

Percentage of students from each ethnic group who score proficient on English Language Arts exams.

 

 

Changing Systems to Change the Odds

CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) graduates from Central Coast Future Leaders are leading efforts to change their high school graduation requirements to match college entry requirements so that 

 all students graduate eligible for college.

 

Talking in Class students from Dos Pueblos High School successfully lobbied to start a Chicano Studies and a Mexican-American Literature class that are both recognized to meet college entry requirements.

Now students don't have to choose between culturally relevant curriculum and college eligibility.

 

Graduates of the Institute for Equity in Education (IEE) and members of our Language Justice Network havesuccessfully launched a Dual Immersion school in the Santa Maria Bonita School District and it is currently in it's first year. 

 

Parent graduates of the Parent Involvement through Dialogue & Action (PIDA)program are transforming their PTSA organizations and dramatically increasing the participation of monolingual Spanish speaking parents by bringing bi-directional, simultaneous interpretation to schools across the Central Coast.

 

This growth and these strides are due in great part to your belief in our work the generosity you have shown to support it. For the second year in a row, we have a generous donor who will be matching every dollar raised in our year end appeal up to $10,000. 

 

Please help us reach our end of year goal by making a tax-deductible donation today. Your donations are the first step to changing the odds for youth for generations to come. 

 

With gratitude,


 
Jarrod Schwartz                Elizabeth Hahn
Executive Director             Development & Communications Manager

 

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info@just-communities.org

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