learn / 2015

Vote for civic-minded students and college success!

Vote for civic-minded students and college success!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Junior Statesmen Foundation; Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

JSA will partner with Alliance College-Ready Public Schools to provide a civic leadership program that prepares low-income students to become engaged citizens and successful students into and through college. This proposal will create six new JSA chapters at Alliance schools, which are uniquely suited to host the organization because of 1) their mission to empower LA’s underserved students for college and career success, and 2) their focus on student-led project-based learning.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • City of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

For over a decade, Alliance has proven that exceptional can become the rule for public schools. Committed to increasing access to a high-quality, college preparatory education for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities, Alliance educates almost 12,000 students (94% low-income and 99% Latino or African-American). The results have been dramatic-91% of students graduate high school in four years and 95% are accepted to college. The challenge faced by Alliance students though, similar to other low-income students of color across the nation, is persisting through and graduating from college. By expanding the JSA footprint to six new Alliance high schools, we can help the network address this challenge. JSA’s unique student-led programming builds the advocacy, leadership, resilience, academic and social skills that will prepare Alliance’s students for future success.

The partnership will bring JSA’s three-pronged model to six new schools:

1) School-sponsored extracurricular clubs that meet weekly to plan candidate forums, political fairs, debates, voter registration drives, and community service projects.

2) Overnight conventions and 1-day regional conferences that bring together students from across Southern California, with student-led debate and a Congressional simulation.

3) 3-4 week Summer School academic programs offering a college-level curriculum.

To drive expansion, we will hire a Fellow to train students and teachers to offer JSA in Alliance schools, we will subsidize the participation of Alliance students in regional events so that they can become leaders and liaisons to their home campuses, and we will host an Alliance forum at City Hall where students can meet civic leaders and discuss and debate issues identified by students.

Alliance students will also develop a cross-school activism project. Designed by participating students, it will focus on youth issues in the 2016 elections, increasing voter turnout city-wide, or creating safer, cleaner communities.

These activities are well-suited for incorporation into the Alliance model. Alliance believes that interdisciplinary real-world projects are essential, and that high expectations become self-fulfilling. JSA’s activities incorporate leading civic and political thinkers and doers as well as issues ripped from the headlines, and they assume the students not only can but must take the lead.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Over the grant period, we intend to track the following outcomes:

  1. Reach, as measured by the number of students participating in each JSA chapter and in network-wide events.
  2. Impact on each student, as measured by self-reported changes in key skills such as communication, research and analysis, and leadership capacity.
  3. Impact on school-wide culture, as measured by the number of events that extend beyond the chapter.
  4. Impact of the Alliance partnership on JSA work, as measured by Alliance students obtaining leadership positions within the JSA Southern California state.

In the longer-term, we intend to further clarify impact by comparing indicators such as academic outcomes, matriculation rates, and college completion rates for JSA-participating students with non-participating students, and by comparing JSA-participating Alliance schools with Alliance schools that are not participating.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support