Losing Our Future: How Minority Youth Are Being Left Behind by the Graduation Rate Crisis, a report by The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and the Urban Institute, documents the overpowering obstacles our youth face. Nationally, as early as preschool, black children are expelled more often than their white peers; by the 4th grade, achievement gaps are clearly noticeable. Students’ test scores worsen through their 12 years of education and achievement gaps widen. By 7th grade, African American and Latino students, on average, read at the level of white 3rd graders.

This national pattern is repeated in San Francisco where approximately 50% of African American and Latino high school students test below proficient in language skills. An astonishing 85% of these students test below proficient in math. The lack of math skills is particularly troublesome as, increasingly, even blue-collar jobs require a level of math proficiency not available to black and brown students in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, with a school system that is failing to prepare them for the 21st century economy, large numbers of youth of color drop out.

In San Francisco, for every four youth who graduate from high school or complete their GED, one youth will drop out and never finish his or her education. This rate is substantially higher than the national average for all racial groups; it is particularly troubling for African American and Latino youth whose drop-out rates are more than double those of their Asian and white peers. Of the San Francisco youth who drop out, sixty-nine percent will be detained at the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC).

Success Center services to address the educational needs of SF youth include:

The Early Morning Study Academy
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The Early Morning Study Academy is designed to counteract young people’s negative life influences by creating a safe and supportive environment in which TAYs can attain their GED and work proactively to further their educational, personal, and professional goals. The program provides guidance, intensive support, clear milestones, and acknowledgment for successes for young people with a range of challenges. The Early Morning Study Academy is the exclusive GED program of the SF Unified School district and operates in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District and the Juvenile Probation Department. This program produces 80% of all the other three court and county schools campuses.

Success Center SF’s Early Morning Study Academy (EMSA) is the exclusive GED provider of the SF Unified School District. We have added enhancements to our curriculum in support the new GED requirements, including computer literacy training. We are excited about this new opportunity to support students who are committed to completing their education, matriculating into post-secondary institutions and/or finding gainful employment.

The Teachers Academy

The Teachers Academy was formed in 2014 to respond to the need for advice and train educators of the nuances associated with the new GED Test and curriculum. On January 1. 2014, the GED curriculum got a facelift and is now geared toward helping students qualify for college and the rigors of the global economy. College professors and employers are looking for problem solvers who are technologically savvy. The new GED curriculum is now computer-based and more effectively determines college and work readiness.

Teacher Academy participants represented 3 counties, 4 detention facilities, SF Unified School District, City
College, Marin Unified and several community based organizations. The overall sentiment was that folks are desperate for information and guidance on how to incorporate this new curriculum into their programs.

The GED Testing Center

The GED Testing Center, operated by Success Center, will provide an opportunity for any youth to complete the national GED test. This service will be available for individuals both in and out of detention by Fall 2014.

For more information about our educational services or to enroll, contact
Jermaine King, jking@successcentersf.org or 415-753-7618.