CHANGING THE PICTURE OF EDUCATION IN Los Angeles

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1 COMMUNITiES IN SCHOOLS Spring 2014 REPORT CHANGING THE PICTURE OF EDUCATION IN Los Angeles

2 COMMUNITiES IN SCHOOLS SPRING 2014 REPORT CHANGING THE PICTURE OF EDUCATION IN Los Angeles We can t argue with empirical research and evidence based results. Integrated student supports work. As LAUSD continues to embed student-centric approaches focused on increasing academic achievement, attendance, graduation, school climate and post-secondary success, we applaud Communities In Schools for their local investment and partnership with our schools. Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District Communities In Schools is a nationwide network of passionate professionals working in public schools to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. For the last seven years, Communities In Schools has grown to serve 15,000 students each year in the Los Angeles area alone. This year, Communities In Schools of Los Angeles is serving students in 12 schools, helping to break the cycle of poverty, school failure and underemployment. This report outlines the accomplishments of Communities In Schools of Los Angeles during the school year. It includes data on the percentage of students who were promoted from one grade to another, graduated from high school, or otherwise improved their performance as a result of their involvement with Communities In Schools; and describes how this success was achieved. Children in poverty come to school every day with tremendous burdens that hinder their ability to learn. It s hard to focus on math or reading when you re hungry or sick or worried about where you re going to sleep at night. In those conditions, it can seem like the escape valve has been welded shut from the outside. Daniel Cardinali, President, Communities in Schools 1

3 About Communities in Schools of Los Angeles COMMUNITiES IN SCHOOLS SPRING 2014 REPORT The sense of community, trust and respect that grows at our Communities In Schools site and with the students on their caseload can be observed in the increase in parent participation, increase in student engagement in school culture, and increase in student advocacy and championing for their own success. We are proud of their work at Clinton Middle School and consider Communities In Schools an integral part of our school community. Sissi O Reilly, Principal, Clinton Middle School Communities In Schools is the only dropout prevention organization proven to both lower dropout rates and increase graduation rates. What sets Communities In Schools apart is the organization s holistic approach to addressing both the academic and nonacademic needs of students. Working with school staff, Communities In Schools site coordinators who are positioned in schools identify students in danger of dropping out, assess what resources they need, and then provide those resources through the appropriate community partnerships. These resources include food, clothing, transportation, housing, medical care, mentoring and much more. Communities In Schools of Los Angeles evidence-based interventions are intended to: 1 Increase student achievement 2 Increase student engagement 3 Increase parent involvement 4 Support a more positive school climate 5 And ensure course access and college access for all students 2 THE STUDENT Everyone needs someone in their life to make them feel good, says STEPHANIE FABIAN, a Communities In Schools of Los Angeles class of 2014 student at Venice High School. That s who my Communities In Schools site coordinators are for me. I know I can always come into their office to talk about anything. They boost my confidence. When Stephanie was just 10 years old, she made the courageous decision to leave her mother and siblings in Mexico and return to the United States, where she was born, to pursue better educational opportunities. Though she lives with her aunt and uncle,

4 Stephanie has struggled for years with the challenge of growing up away from her mother and her real, real family. For Stephanie, Communities In Schools is a refuge at school, a place where she can talk openly with caring adults who make her feel accepted and special. They ve all been very supportive, she says. Whenever bad things happen, this is the first place I come. There is no full-time college counselor at Venice, just one academic counselor who pulls double duty for the school s nearly 2,000 students. As a first generation college applicant, Stephanie didn t always know who to turn to during the application process. The Communities In Schools team stepped in to offer services and support. They helped me with my scholarship essays when I was applying, but even more, they gave me faith in myself. They were the ones who told me, You re brilliant. You will get in. I needed to hear that. Stephanie will be attending Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania next year on a full scholarship. COMMUNITiES IN SCHOOLS SPRING 2014 REPORT THE SITE COORDINATOR According to GABY MORALES, Communities In Schools site director at Venice High School, The biggest obstacle for so many of our students is that they feel stuck. They re unaware of all the options life can present them. Most of them don t have very many accessible role models, so they don t believe they can be more than they are right now. Gaby and the three site coordinators she oversees see themselves as the adults on campus who are responsible for making 9-12th graders believe that they can accomplish anything. Together and individually, they build rapport with students. Telling a story about a girl who was struggling, Gaby explained that a lot of their students don t receive much affirmation from adults in their lives. I gave her concrete examples of why she is great. She couldn t believe that anyone would say such positive things about her. After she failed a test, we helped her to study. She got a D on the next one, and I put it up on my wall. I told her, This is better than the first one! Sometimes students just need someone to be proud of them. Gaby knows first-hand what it s like to be a student at Venice; she graduated from the school in I grew up here, and my mom still lives here. I see my students at the store, at the dentist. As a kid, I went to Venice Family Clinic, where we refer students now. This is my community. I always knew I wanted to come back here to work in Venice because I didn t go to higher education all on my own; I am a product of mentorship and support. Communities In Schools recognizes that if basic needs are not met, children are unable to learn. 3 Working with each school s administration, Communities In Schools identifies students who lack basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and utilizes community resources to assist with meeting these needs. Other whole-school offerings include parenting programs, grief and loss counseling, and bullying prevention programs.

5 THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Executive Director DEBORAH MARCUS joined Communities In Schools of Los Angeles in June 2010 as its first development director. Since that time, she has led the organization s growth, serving 400 students in 2010 to 15,000 students and their families in 12 traditional public schools throughout the city, annually. As a product of Los Angeles and a graduate of its public school system, Deborah understands Communities In Schools s mission and feels a personal connection to the work. She is committed to serving her community. When 80%, or 560,000 students in the LAUSD, are living in poverty, and many are therefore coming to school hungry or challenged by violence in their communities, it s harder for them to learn, Deborah says. It is our obligation as a society to ensure that all students have access to a high quality public education and Communities In Schools s role is to do whatever it takes to make sure that students social and emotional needs are being met, so that the barriers to their academic success can be removed. All of Communities In Schools work is guided by the Five Basics a set of essentials that every child needs and deserves: A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult A safe place to learn and grow A healthy start and a healthy future A marketable skill to use upon graduation A chance to give back to peers and community high Schools middle Schools Communities In Schools of Los Angeles School Year Highlights Seven middle schools and five high schools were served. Los Angeles schools served by communities in schools Approximately 15,000 students received integrated student supports from Communities In Schools of Los Angeles; 12,700 students received Level One* or school-wide prevention services and 2,300 students received Level Two** targeted and sustained interventions. 94% of seniors receiving targeted and sustained services (and for whom data were available) graduated. 86% of the students in grades K 11 who received targeted and sustained services (and for whom data were available) were promoted to the next grade. 4

6 100 83% 61% of the students in grades K 12 who received targeted and sustained services met their attendance goal of a 96% or higher attendance average. 61% 63% 63% of the students in grades K 12 who received targeted and sustained services met their academic performance goal of zero failing grades on their 0 ATTENDANCE ACADEMICS BEHAVIOR report card. 83% of the students in grades K 12 who received targeted and sustained services met their behavior goal of fewer than two unsatisfactory classroom behavior marks on their report card. COMMUNITiES IN SCHOOLS spring 2014 REPORT These [students on the Communities In Schools caseload] are the students who often haunt the dedicated teachers who work with them the teachers who wish they had more resources and supports to provide to them. Knowing that these children are now being followed and case managed by our Communities In Schools site coordinators takes one more thing off the teachers plates and allows them more time and energy to attend to the things they can effectively address. Angela Marino, School Transformation Facilitator, Johns Hopkins University *Level One services, also known as whole-school preventative services, are provided to all students, regardless of their risk for developing serious problems. Examples of these services include health fairs, attendance initiatives, anti-bullying campaigns, parent engagement activities/events, and motivational speakers. 5 **Level Two services are targeted and sustained interventions provided for specific students over an extended period of time. These services are provided based on individual student needs and include services such as one-on-one academic tutoring, mentoring, coordination of medical or dental resources, and counseling.

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