What's Happening at Elev8
All four Elev8 sites have signed on to a letter organized by the Children's Defense Fund that supports President Obama's plan to expand federal funding to increase positive school safety measures.
On March 25, 2013, nearly 200 students, parents and community leaders ascended upon Northeastern University for the first Elev8 Youth Summit.
An article in Governing Magazine explores a proposal in Tennessee that would eliminate a share of welfare benefits from low-income families whose children struggle in school. This article features Elev8 and Elev8 Baltimore as an alternative program to spur educational success by adding resources.
Some years ago, a girl at Wilson Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico complained to teacher, Tamera Lopez, of an ear ache. It was a simple infection but for lack of time or money, her parents delayed medical treatment. “[She] was out for a month. She came back with a big bandage,” Lopez recalls. “Her eardrum burst.”
Elev8 schools in Chicago and New Mexico distributed Thanksgiving food
baskets, helping meet critical needs in their communities.
Reporter Gwendolyn Glenn visited Tench-Tilghman Elementary Middle School, to learn more about why Elev8 Baltimore has been recognized as a model community school partnership by the US Department of Education.
Students from the Orozco Community Academy and Marquette Elementary Schools volunteered for the Romney and Obama campaigns in October, becoming part of a historic election.
community partners, evaluators and funders came together from across the
country to expand their knowledge and skills, share lessons learned, and build and
strengthen partnerships, both within and across Elev8 sites.
article, published on Oct. 16, reports on
the US Department of Education award
recently won by Elev8 programs in Baltimore and Chicago.
The Juanico Family of Laguna Pueblo
lost their home to fire in the early morning hours of October 7, 2012. The Elev8
New Mexico community has rallied around the eight-member family and is working
to help them replace their home and belongings.
In honor of Lights On Afterschool
, Elev8 is
celebrating the wide range of creative and engaging out-of-school time
opportunities available to students at Elev8 schools.
For over a decade, Chelanna Balok, the YMCA's
state director for adolescent development programs, has steadily honed her
unique ability to reach young people.
Overseeing the afterschool programs at Grant and Wilson Middle Schools
in Albuquerque, Balok is having a powerful impact on students and the entire
This innovative photography class, offered in
partnership with the Creative Alliance, teaches concrete skills, while allowing
students to explore their aspirations for the future and beautify their city.
about 60 percent of Wilson Middle School's population is Hispanic and over a
quarter of parents have limited English proficiency, there was a time, not long
ago, when nobody in the front office spoke Spanish. "It was frustrating because
you couldn't explain what you need," says Amelia Garcia, whose son attends the
8th grade at Wilson. Not surprisingly, parents had little voice in
school decision-making. That all changed in 2009 when Elev8 helped organize a
council for Spanish-speaking parents: the Concilio
de Padres Latinos.
The Junior Green Youth Farm, which just
completed its second summer at Reavis Elementary School, is part
youth-development camp and part real-life job. Run by the Chicago
Botanical Gardens, the program is designed to teach young teens gardening
know-how, as well as workplace skills like teamwork and communication.
On July 30, about 60 students from Reavis and Marquette elementary
schools joined youth from other Children's
Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools in Chicago in a march down 95th
Street—encouraging adults to register to vote.
march was part of a national effort to promote voter registration by CDF, which
sponsors the Freedom Schools summer program. It also highlighted the growth of
Freedom Schools in Chicago. Read more
An article in UCSF's Science of Caring celebrates a new partnership between Elev8 Oakland and the UCSF
nursing and dental schools. During
the 2011-2012 school year, more than 60 UCSF faculty and nurse practitioner and
dental students began working in health centers and classrooms in Elev8 schools,
helping meet a critical need in Oakland's communities.
State Senator Nathaniel McFadden visited Dr. Rayner Browne Academy in Baltimore
and read to the children participating in the Freedom Schools summer program.
new issue brief examines the vital role that after-school and summer
programming can play in school improvement efforts. It highlights the work of
Elev8 Chicago at Perspectives Middle School, concluding that “Elev8 has
demonstrated its ability to use school improvement funding for directed,
high-impact services that help not only the students but the community as a
Candace Baxter, whose son attends
Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, was recently named one of
Humanim’s top 25 employees, a position she secured with critical support from
School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seems an unlikely place for a political coup
resulting in a military dictatorship. But that’s just what happened here in
spring 2010 shortly after Grant and the other Elev8 New Mexico sites launched
Microsociety in their afterschool program.
a national model for experiential learning, lets kids try out adult roles in
business, banking and government. In addition to practical knowledge and
management skills, it also builds students’ interest in history and politics.
Microsociety will be a centerpiece of Elev8 NM’s programming in the 2012-2013
Elev8 evaluator Meridith Polin will present about how "integrated school and community partnerships"
can build systems for strong data collection, reporting, analysis and action.
Elev8 Baltimore and Elev8 Chicago are both engaging students in the innovative
Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools® this summer.
As Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) will be ceasing operations this
summer, the Elev8 evaluation will be led by new partner, Research for Action in
On May 10, Elev8 leaders presented to policymakers, administrators and practitioners from around the country at the Coalition for Community Schools’ national forum in San Francisco. This year’s forum was focused on “Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships.”
Students from Elev8 Oakland recently crisscrossed the campus of one of the nation’s premier historically black colleges, in search of the answers to 40 questions. In two competing teams, they worked to identify buildings, query college students, even count the number of steps leading up to the physics and astronomy hall. The scavenger hunt at Howard University in Washington, D.C., was just the latest effort by Elev8 Oakland to get its middle school students thinking about college.
While the Mi Voz film being shot at Wilson Middle School is part of the Elev8 afterschool program, it has all the trappings of a professional production. Students are learning to use industry-standard equipment. They even get coaching from a television star—Steven Quezada from the hit AMC series Breaking Bad. Read more...
After meeting with a group of Elev8 students at the state capitol, Sen. Raoul accepted their invitation to visit Reavis Elementary School.
Last year, two tragedies struck within six months at a tiny middle school in the tribal community of Laguna, New Mexico. The Elev8 school-based health center played a vital role in helping students process the losses. At this school and across the Elev8 NM sites, mental health counseling is in even greater demand than primary, vision or dental care.
On Monday, March 19, Elev8 Chicago and the Federation for Community Schools hosted US Secretary of Education Senior Advisor Greg Darnieder, who led a dynamic discussion about college access.
This year, students at Ames middle school have a new reason to put in some extra hours of school work. The recently launched Incentive Program was developed to increase attendance, motivation and achievement in core subject areas.
Elev8's work is highlighted in a new report released by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) about how to use data to support effective community collaborations. A webinar based on the report was being held on April 25, and featured staff from Elev8 NM. For more information or to view a recording of the webinar, click here
The health suite at Tench Tilghman Elementary Middle School is currently being upgraded and will be unveiled at an Open House on Wednesday, Feb. 29. The health center will have a medical doctor on site once a week, in addition to a full-time nurse and medical assistant. This was achieved in partnership with Baltimore Medical Systems, which works closely with Elev8 Baltimore to provide high-quality care to students in four Elev8 Baltimore schools.
Elev8 and the Southwest Organizing Project's Safety Zone initiative have partnered to dramatically reduce gang activity near Marquette Elementary School.
Elev8 Baltimore parents recently gathered to tell the city's leaders about "deplorable conditions are in our public school buildings." Along with parents from other schools in the city, they asked leaders to consider an innovative plan out of Greenville, SC, which was able to raise $1 billion for school construction. As a result of the plan, Greenville constructed or renovated 70 schools in just five years.
Elev8 New Mexico's Microsociety is confronting real-life challenges in the community. In Microsociety, students produce goods and services, establish laws, arbitrate disputes and report the news. But at Gadsden Middle School, Microsociety students are not just creating a microcosm of the real world inside their school.They are working to build a better community in the surrounding town of Anthony, NM.
The Stanford Social Innovation Review highlighted the work of Safe Passages/Youth Ventures in Oakland.
Elev8 Baltimore has found that its school health clinics aren't just for asthma attacks, headaches, and bloody knees, but have become places to find friendships, confront bullying, and cope with stress. Licensed mental health counselors are now part of the school clinical team, helping address some of the social and emotional challenges that middle grade students face, including self-identity development, grief, loss and neighborhood violence.
Beginning on November 14, Elev8's National Learning Institute drew large multi-disciplinary teams from the four Elev8 initiatives (in Baltimore, Chicago, New Mexico and Oakland), as well as an array of outside experts. The three-day convening was packed with lively discussions and useful workshops and presented the rare opportunity for participants to share challenges and lessons with colleagues doing similar work in very different parts of the country.
Elev8 stakeholders from Baltimore, Chicago, New Mexico and Oakland converged in New York City on October 26 for the Children's Aid Society's Community Schools Practicum, "Focus on Results." The practicum brought together leaders from nonprofit, education, community, government, research and philanthropic organizations to share and examine results from community school evaluations across the country and to consider challenges involved in documenting the impact of community school initiatives...
In October, a team drawn from the Elev8 initiatives in Baltimore, Chicago, New Mexico and Oakland came together for an unforgettable journey to Ireland. The trip was conceived as an opportunity for Atlantic Philanthropies grantees to meet and learn from one another, and it did not disappoint. Elev8 representatives visited a range of impressive youth- and community-serving organizations and were struck by the similarities between their work in the United States and work in Ireland...
As students dive into a new school year, Wilson Middle School is implementing new policies to address attendance issues; these policies were developed over the last school year by the Elev8 Family Engagement Team and school staff.
Over the summer, school administrators visited the homes of students who had been absent between five and seven days over the school year. During the home visits, administrators found that many absences had been miscounted. They also discovered that health issues or other family problems were key reasons students were missing school.
(This article is reposted with permission from YouthVentures/SafePassages)
Access to legal services have for the past decade been a void in low income communities with the elimination of federal programs for legal clinics in our neighborhoods. Without these services, it is difficult for families to fight for their rights and, often, even to know about them.
At the request of dozens of families in Oakland schools, Safe Passages and Elev8 have partnered with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) to provide free legal assistance to families. Each week EBCLC staff attorney Rosa Bay holds free legal clinics at the Elev8 school sites. Families receive advice, guided referrals, and possible representation related to special education, school discipline and other youth law issues, as well as housing, public benefits, immigration, and consumer issues. Families are also invited to participate in a series of "Know Your Rights" workshops at the schools on the various legal topics listed above.
(This article is reposted with permission from YouthVentures/SafePassages)
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) 2011 Provides Free Tax Services to Community
"I was not expecting such a large return from the IRS. I was actually expecting to pay money to the feds- thank you for this program and look forward to seeing me next year," states a parent of a middle school student at Madison Middle school.
Elev8 Oakland schools are in their third year of providing Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). The success of the program are in the numbers and in the voices of families previously concerned with tax preparation. This year's Elev8 Tax Clinics exceeded program goals by successfully filing $104,000 in tax returns. This is twice that filed in returns last year for families at Elev8 schools.
(This article is reposted with permission from LISC)
It's not yet 9 a.m. on a steamy morning in July, but the Reavis Elementary School gym in Bronzeville is alive with chanting and arm-waving worthy of a church revival.
After an uplifting song about standing up to racism, a normally shy boy with a wide smile leads a call-and-response cheer: "Rock the Freedom School!" the kids shout, jumping and throwing their fists in the air.
The Freedom School is not your typical summer school program-and not just because each morning starts with a rousing kick-off called Harambee, a Swahili word meaning "let's pull together."
In early July, employees from Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) traveled to Elev8 sites at East Baltimore Community School (Baltimore) and Perspectives-Calumet Middle School (Chicago). While at the sites, P/PV conducted a workshop with Elev8 students attending summer programming as well as with some of their parents.
Elev8 students are getting ready for their summer learning activities to begin. At Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland, approximately 120 sixth and seventh graders will be participating in Elev8 summer programming. The programs will focus on both academic (math and English Language Arts) and enrichment activities. A group of rising eighth graders will also participate in an Algebra Camp this summer.
Elev8 students in the MicroSociety program at Grant Middle School are participating in mock advocacy efforts to better understand what programs face as they search for ways to generate revenue during tough economic times.
To combat the very prevalent gang problem in the Bay Area, Elev8 Oakland has created a "History of Gangs" course to educate youth about the realities of gang life. Art Mola, the Elev8 coordinator who teaches the course, takes youth on regular trips to local prisons to speak with inmates about the consequences of their crimes.
In January, the Elev8 School-Based Health Center officially opened at Madison Middle School in Oakland, California—the first of five medical centers planned for middle schools in the city. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined a crowd of 300 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.