learn / 2020

PUSD to College Graduation

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by College Access Plan

CAP offers easy-to-access college readiness support through dynamic drop-in advisement that meets individual needs; prioritizes student-driven relationships; and is open to all regardless of grades, ability to attend, or immigration status. This grant will support CAP’s existing programs at six traditional and alternative high schools in PUSD with the goal of increasing the college-going rate from 72% to 90% in the next decade through increased student and family access to application support, test prep, financial aid guidance, and more.

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

  • San Gabriel Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Pasadena Unified School District

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

PUSD is CAP’s once and future partner in supporting students’ college aspirations. CAP particularly partners with PasadenaLEARNs, PUSD’s after school program, and the two alternative high schools to provide our signature drop-in programs. Collaborations with PUSD’s Linked Learning Academies and with John Muir High School Early College Magnet help us to engage more deeply with teachers and students during the school day. While PUSD invests funds in its partnership with CAP in addition to providing in-kind access to rooms and other resources, these funds have stagnated or in some cases decreased over the past few years even as our collaborative efforts have grown. CAP seeks to buttress PUSD’s diminished resources and ensure that our collaboration can continue to grow and deepen.

What is the need you’re responding to?

PUSD has faced deep cuts and is unable to support a population where a majority of the students are low-income and first generation college-going. Despite a large number of college access organizations in Los Angeles County, CAP is the only one serving PUSD students without barriers, requirements, or limits. As in all public school districts in California, our counselors manage large caseloads and can’t possibly provide all college readiness supports — including personal statement writing, college list curation, test preparation, and more — without external support. We all know that families with the resources to do so pay for these services. Education is a public good. Those without the luxury to pay still deserve equitable access to the college degrees that will help them to become tomorrow’s leaders.

It is not yet clear what the impact of COVID-19 will be on educational funding; however, we are as dedicated as ever to supporting PUSD students through and beyond this global event.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

CAP began serving 2 students at John Muir High School in 2006 and has grown to serve 1,600 students attending or who have graduated from 6 high schools and 7 middle schools. Our staff and board are educators, advocates, experts, PUSD grads, community members, parents, and leaders. We are Pasadena proud.

We collaborate with teachers, counselors, administrators, families, and — above all — students to ensure every future leader can attend and graduate from college. We consider ourselves tireless advocates for educational access, and our students’ experiences shape our responsive support.

We will not change what we do; rather, we will ensure that our services remain open to all students even as budgets tighten. We do not yet know what the impact of COVID-19 will be, but we do know that it will be great. In an ecosystem of declining resources, CAP will remain steadfast, even increasing the number of students and families we support, encouraging more students that college is for them.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Michael entered our SAT prep course unsure he’d attend a 4-year college. It’d be too expensive. He couldn’t get in.

Michael graduates from Stanford in May and is now a CAP board member. With our program staff support, he completed his college portfolio. In college he served 2 terms on our Alumni Advisory Council, encouraging his peers. At Stanford he’s been a tireless advocate for educational access. Michael has shared his CAP experience with hundreds. His advocacy work in college has impacted thousands.

CAP works in a complicated community and we do one thing: support students through college success. We are a thread in a web of local supports, and our shared efforts are amplified by collaboration and student voice.

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

CAP tracks the daily attendance of all students who attend programs and does not remove any students from data analysis. Thanks to a Memorandum of Agreement with PUSD, CAP is able to track students after graduation through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) – both CAP attendees and non-attendees – to compare college attendance rates. The district provides detailed information, including student demographics and A-G course completion. CAP is able to use the demographic information to generate descriptive statistics on the graduating class as a whole and on the population served by CAP.

CAP success is measured by the following: -75% of 12th grade participants who are A-G-ready are accepted to four-year colleges -90% of 12th grade participants at all levels of ability plan to attend college
-100% of eligible senior participants complete at FAFSA or Dream Act application -45%+ of participants are male -25% of 12th grade attendees have 10+ meaningful interactions with staff/attend 10+ drop-in sessions -80% of regular attendees (10+) enroll in CAP’s I Heart College alumni program

Success, Defined: All students, regardless of prior academic performance, feel like they are college bound, feel that a trusted adult believes in their potential to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and have the resources and support to apply to a range of best-fit colleges. CAP students’ number of college applications exceed the average and all students make informed decisions on where they enroll in and how they pay for college. By 2030, we seek to see college enrollment in PUSD increase by 20%.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Enrollment in afterschool programs
  • College matriculation
  • Community college completion

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff