learn / 2019

We Are Ready to Battle the HS Crisis

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles

WAR curriculum teaches students: how to succeed in high school; their high school options; how to study, plan, and stay organized; how to take notes; an introduction to college applications and college campuses; how to build a resume; and numerous career options matching the education requirements. The culmination, CampUs will allow students to attend a 5 day camp that focuses on high school success, the importance of college, college applications, leadership skills, and career panels.


What does your organization do?

ASASLA mission is to educate, enlighten and inspire students by providing opportunities for their success, while cultivating students’ self-esteem, leadership and to help build healthier communities.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

ASAS-LA is able to provide high quality afterschool programming that helps to prepare our students to succeed in school and in life. The W.A.R. curriculum helps 8th graders gain knowledge and prepare themselves for what to expect in high school and college and impacts our current students and former students in positive ways. Being 10 years old and in a new school was scary. She would walk through the gray hallways everyday alone. This girl could be any new 6th grader in a middle school in Los Angeles. But she wasn’t just any girl. Ivonne Gonzalez attended Griffith Steam Magnet School as a student. Her 2 parents worked long hours. Ivonne would walk the streets of East LA by herself to get home after-school. There were no adults home when she opened her front door. She would make herself a snack, do her homework and get ready for bed before her parents returned home. Ivonne would complete her homework but much of the work would be incorrect. She became frustrated and even more isolated because she felt like she was disappointing her parents. During parent conferences, her teachers suggested that she join the after-school program provided at the school. This was her turning point. Ivonne discovered she had a true passion, music. Her mentor, Jose, would work with her academically and musically every afternoon. Ivonne participated in the We Are Ready program after-school. She began to research the different pathways that would give her a great education as well as continue to allow her to pursue her passion of music. She never really had anyone talk to her about high school or college. The W.A.R. program empowered her and because of it she was able to decide what high school she wanted to go to that would align with her future career. Ivonne sites her attendance at CampUs (ASAS-LA’s high school/college readiness summer camp) as the inspiration to become a student mentor in our W.A.R. program after she graduated. Ivonne went on to receive the Bill Gates Foundation Scholarship and attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree. She continues to return to CampUs as a Counselor and educate students in all the areas she was unaware of before entering the program.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Suspension and expulsion rates

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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • LAUSD

How will your project make LA the best place to learn?

We Are Ready program prepares youth in need for high school, college, and careers. According to research from the Everyone Graduates Center, middle schoolers with low attendance (less than 80%), poor behavior (three or more negative behavior marks), or course failure in math or English have only a 15% chance of graduating high school. WR helps to reverse this trend by solidifying students’ connections between school and the possibilities for their futures, leading them to understand the importance of their education. We then give them the tools to be successful in the classroom so that they can achieve their goals. We engage students through the following components:

–CAREER EXPOSURE (September-December): ASAS-LA begins with lessons on self-awareness and self-identity, helping students explore their personality characteristics, leadership style, passions, and what defines them. Students use this information to explore a minimum of 6 careers per student. During this process, they research: what people in the profession do; qualities, and skills needed; education required; what programs/institutions could help them prepare for this career; average salary; working conditions; benefits offered; future outlook for this career; and what steps they must personally take to prepare for this career.

–HIGH SCHOOL READINESS (January-April): Students plan for their future beginning with high school. They design their 4-year plans based on the discoveries they made in their career choices. We help them ensure that their high school offers classes that are directly linked to the careers they researched. Students also learn about studying and note taking skills. Based on the careers and their research, students further research what steps they will need to take after high school to prepare themselves. Students learn the basics of creating a resume and participate in mock interviews.

–CampUs(June): WAR culminates with a week-long summer program, CampUs, which takes place on a college campus and gives students an extra push as they enter high school. CampUs helps students examine connections between academic and career success while exploring college and career paths. Students live in the dorms for a week, learn about how to apply to college, and take daily classes on how to be successful in school and in the workforce.

  1. Students will move toward on-time high school graduation.

  2. Students will regularly attend school.

  3. Students will be academically engaged with high self-efficacy.

  4. Students will understand the value of staying in school.

  5. Students will feel comfortable at school.

  6. Students will believe they can become better.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

It is the goal of After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles for all of our students to grow up safe and healthy, graduate high school and go on to college, find careers they love and give back to their communities. We measure our progress toward these goals by examining the following outputs and outcomes:

Output 1: Students will regularly attend school

Outcome 1: 85% of W.A.R. participants will attend school for at least 90% of days

Output 2: Students will be academically engaged with high self-efficacy

Outcome 2: 75% of W.A.R. participants will agree that they can do well in school even if it’s challenging

Output 3: Students will move toward on-time high school graduation

Outcome 3: 100% of participants will achieve on-time grade promotion

Output 4: Students will develop career aspirations

Outcome 4: 75% of CEO participants will demonstrate confidence in their ability to understand and navigate career pathways

We measure success against the outcomes above using three primary data sources: pre and post student surveys; school and district data sharing; and participation tracking through Cityspan.

Pre and Post Student Surveys: Surveys are administered in the first and last two weeks of the program year by the Programs team and sent to the National Research and Evaluation team. The National Research and Evaluation team compiles, cleans, and analyzes the data. They then provide actionable, data informed feedback to chapters and sites, which chapters then use to inform and improve programs going forward. Each summer, pre and post survey data is analyzed to examine both group and individual-level changes, as well as provide an end-of-year snapshot of student strengths and areas of growth.

School and District Data Sharing: ASAS-LA engages in data-sharing with school and district partners in order to obtain information on attendance, and on-time grade promotion of participants, suspensions/behavioral referrals, and other relevant data. Data is cleaned, compiled, and analyzed by the National Research and Evaluation team, with analyses examining both within year and year over year changes.

Cityspan: In seeking to ensure that we continually improve our programming, ASAS-LA developed a feedback loop system tied to our attendance tracking system. We utilize Cityspan, a nationally-recognized customizable database system, to collect data on dosage levels per program, demographic information on students in our programs, and attendance rates.