What's Happening at Elev8
Wilson Middle School held a Harvest Drive, a partnership effort by the Wilson Middle School Student Council, Health & Wellness Team, YDI-Elev8 New Mexico and Whole Foods, which served 54 families for Thanksgiving with fresh and canned food, turkeys or hams.
Pacing back and forth across the length of Grant Middle School’s Family Resource Center in Albuquerque, YDI-Elev8 New Mexico’s new AmeriCorps VISTA, Casey Coty, is hard at work on his cell phone trying to connect a parent with employment support. Helping parents and students in schools in New Mexico comes naturally to Casey.
A Washington state native, Casey came to Albuquerque six years ago. Having found a strong affinity for the area’s land and culture, today, Casey calls Albuquerque home.
Each year, the national AmeriCorps Program offers 80,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve American communities throughout a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Since 2010, Safe Passages has hosted over 100 AmeriCorps Members – all working to build a better future for youth in Elev8 Oakland Middle Schools.
Elev8 began by offering individual and small group counseling sessions to students in need, set up by teacher or counselor recommendations. But the recommendations never stopped flowing in and the team was inundated. “We knew we couldn’t keep providing services for individual students when the entire seventh grade needed help,” Johnson said.
So Elev8, in a partnership with Johns Hopkins, created D-Stress Baltimore— a program that is integrated into students’ general health education classes and that focuses on ways to manage and respond to stress and trauma.
Additionally, Johnson and her team increased the presence of wellness coordinators in participating schools. These coordinators facilitate communication between students’ therapists and teachers and act as an extra eye looking out for students who might be in need of therapy.
Elev8 Baltimore's first edition of the Elev8 Baltimore Review includes details about how far the initiative has come in the past three years in their work with middle grade youth and their families, and where they are headed.
Elev8 Baltimore has a range of programs that serve the whole child. From after school and summer enrichment programs to vital school-based health services and resources that help parents find employment, the program works hard every day to change lives throughout their community.
The final Elev8 Fall Learning Institute, marking
the 6th anniversary of Elev8 will be held on November 13-15, 2013 in Chicago at
the Hotel Palomar Chicago. A draft agenda is now available. Read on to learn more.
Unconventional best describes the approach eight YDI-Elev8 New Mexico students from Albuquerque’s Wilson Middle School are taking to share health messages with adults and youths. Using memes, which combine catchy (and kitschy) graphics and language, students are putting health care messaging in a whole new light.
Take this one: A toddler with a not too happy face is pictured thinking, “If I knew I could ask my doctor questions, they wouldn’t have put the thermometer there to take my tempeture!”
On the 19th of July, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced its support of Elev8 Baltimore through Forward Promise, the Foundation’s $9.5 million initiative to improve the health and success of boys and young men of color. Elev8 Baltimore received approximately $500,000 over 30 months to support its Adolescent Behavioral Health Partnership with the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview. The partnership provides mental health support to fifth- to eighth-grade boys in East Baltimore, presenting them with skills they need to effectively manage stress and the effects of trauma, ultimately reducing levels of depression and anxiety.
A new research report focused on Elev8's Community Schools has just been released, entitled "Out-of-School Time in Elev8 Community Schools: A First Look at Participation and its Unique Contribution to Students’ Experiences in School." The report seeks to document how students fare in the Elev8 program and in its Out-of-School Time (OST) component in particular, and to contribute to the literature on community schools.
Elev8 Oakland, a full service community school initiative at five middle school campuses, provides more than the average school program. A unique and exemplary support provided through this multi-prong initiative are legal services provided by the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). This program has already helped hundreds of Elev8 families in Oakland with a variety of legal and immigration issues, including providing representation in U Visa cases, which are visas for victims of serious crimes.
Elev8 Baltimore recently hosted the Third Annual East Baltimore Community Health and Wellness Fair, which promotes good nutrition, active lifestyles, and general health and fitness in a fun and engaging environment, complete with delicious (and nutritious) snacks. Step teams from three of Elev8 Baltimore's partner schools (Tench Tilghman, Collington Square, and Rayner Browne) performed at the fair as well.
The Institute for Educational Leadership and the Coalition for Community Schools summarize some findings of community schools research, involving Elev8 and other initiatives, in their new research brief.
Chapin Hall's new Discussion Paper entitled "Implementing Successful School-Based Health Centers: Lessons from the Chicago Elev8 Initiative" explores the successes and challenges faced by Elev8's School-Based Health Centers. The paper expands these lessons to a broader scale and presents strategies for improving the working relationship between SBHCs, schools, and communities.
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.”
This issue brief, entitled "Integrating Family Support Services Into Schools: Lessons from the Elev8 Initiative," uses data from Chapin Hall’s evaluation of the Elev8 Full-Service Schools Initiative as a case study to reflect on the potential challenges and benefits of offering economic support services to families at schools. The findings suggest that a small group of parents who used the services felt that they helped improve their family’s financial well-being. In addition, staff members of the various Elev8 partner organizations reported that a major success was the ability of the economic supports staff to make individual connections to families. However, a number of factors made reaching larger numbers of parents a significant challenge. These included difficulties coordinating school and economic support efforts, as well as parents’ concerns about sharing their private information within the school setting.
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.
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.
article, published on Oct. 16, reports on
the US Department of Education award
recently won by Elev8 programs in Baltimore and Chicago.
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.
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.
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
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.