Research shows that disparities in academic outcomes begin prior to kindergarten and persist throughout middle school, high school and post-secondary education. In the 2015-16 school year, only 39% of African American and 49% of Hispanic/Latino kindergarteners were kindergarten-ready, as compared to 62% of all students. Similarly, in the same school year, 38% of African American, 51% percent of Latino/Hispanic and 52% of Pacific Islander public school students in San Francisco tested at or near state standards for third-grade reading, as compared to 66% of all students. Similar disparities by student race/ethnicity and Special Education, English Learner and low-income status are observed in other measures of academic success, including the percent of SFUSD eighth graders finishing middle school ready for high school, the percent of students graduating from high school within four years, and the percent of SFUSD graduates that enroll in college and complete a post-secondary degree within six years. The Educational Supports Service Area is designed to address these disparities and ensure that struggling students have access to the appropriate services throughout their academic careers.
Reading at grade level in the early years of schooling is key to academic and socioeconomic success in the later years. Research conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundations shows that children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to later drop out of school. Among these, African American and Hispanic/Latino children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are twice as likely as their White peers to not graduate from high school (about 25% versus 13%). After the last US recession (late 2007 to early 2012), the workers most likely to stay unemployed were those with a high school diploma or less. Additionally, a 2009 study conducted by Northeastern University found that high school dropouts were 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates. There is a growing national consensus that reading at grade level by the end of third grade is critical for success in school and life.
Youth who face challenges performing at grade level in core academic subjects or who are just barely meeting grade level standards are also more likely to fall behind, drop out of high school or take longer to complete high school and college. Youth struggling academically need supports to accelerate their learning progress, catch up with their peers and, in general, succeed in their academic careers.
The Academic Supports Strategy is designed to decrease the disparities in academic achievement. Academic Supports programs will provide academic support to African American, Hispanic/Latino and Pacific Islander youth that are struggling academically as well as disconnected TAY who are looking to reengage with the educational system and/or working to attain a High School Equivalency credential. Academic Supports programs will work closely with these target populations to ensure that youth get back on track academically, and these programs will support youth as they make key transitions within their academic careers.
The Alternative Education Strategy is designed to provide opportunities for youth and young adults to obtain their High School diplomas. Alternative Education programs targets youth who are off-track, have attended multiple schools, are suspended or expelled for disruptive and/or delinquent behavior, or have generally been unsuccessful at learning in a mainstream or traditional educational environment.
The Literacy Supports Strategy is designed to provide programming to elementary school youth and English Learners in need of additional literacy support. Literacy Supports programs will assess youth, develop individual service plans, and deliver activities that help young people improve their reading levels, writing abilities and other literacy skills.
The Summer Transitions Initiative is designed to support both youth that need additional academic support while attending SFUSD Summer School and young people transitioning into 9th grade that have struggled academically within their 8th grade year. There are two primary components to this initiative: (1) the Summer Youth Academic and Employment Component and (2) the Summer Bridge Component. The Summer Youth Academic and Employment Component is intended to complement SFUSD’s summer school instruction through workshops, coaching and activities that enhance participants’ success in school and reengage their interest in learning. The Summer Bridge Component is intended to ease the transition into high school, develop positive relationships with students and foster connections to learning and education for incoming 9th graders.
The Summer Transitions Initiative targets African American, Hispanic/Latino and/or Pacific Islander youth who are Early Warning Indicator (EWI) identified and entering the 9th grade or in grades 10 to 12 attending SFUSD Summer School as well as English Learners in grades 9 to 12.