Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $300,000)
The Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative is a joint effort by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to support schools and communities in creating safer and healthier learning environments. This solicitation invites current SS/HS grantees to develop proposals that will increase the capacity of their SS/HS collaborations to develop and implement community-based mentoring programs or to expand and enhance existing mentoring programs and strategies. This program advances the provision of integrated resources for prevention and early intervention services for children and youth by supporting effective evidence-based mentoring services to young people who are underserved. The intent of this program is to demonstrate new mentoring efforts or to expand existing mentoring efforts that work in concert with a grantee's SS/HS comprehensive plan.
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) originally designed and piloted the Mentoring for Success Program in three elementary schools in 2005-2006. Since that time, the program has progressively expanded through volunteerism, in-kind district resources, a grant from the Department of Education, and, most recently, two Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grants to target foster youth and gang prevention efforts.
Under the current award, SFUSD will implement the Mentoring for Success Program: Truancy Focus to expand their existing Mentoring for Success Program to reach 114 students at seven elementary schools that feed into SS/HS middle schools and at three high schools receiving students from SS/HS sites. The selected schools recorded some of the largest increases in chronic and/or habitual truancy in 2009-2010 despite the decrease in district-wide truancy rates.
Project activities for 3rd through 5th graders will include one-on-one community-based mentoring provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area to prevent truancy from becoming a habit. Targeted 9th and 10th graders will participate in intensive school-based group mentoring, monthly community activities, and service learning projects designed to address long-term risk factors, help students transition into high school and 10th grade, and connect students with the resources they need to get back on track. Mentor relationships and groups will be supported to last two years.
The project goals are to reduce incidences of truancy and build community-wide capacity to reach habitually truant students. Intended outcomes for students will include increased school attendance, increased school connectedness, and fewer juvenile offenses. To measure progress, the project will use web-based logs, attendance data, and student pre- and post-tests.