African American Postsecondary Pathway
In response to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper challenge to cities to develop a “cradle-to-career” strategy for young people of color, the African American Postsecondary Pathway brings together city, education, business, and non-profit leadership to take collective responsibility for improving the life outcomes of African American students in San Francisco.
While San Francisco’s economy has prospered in recent years, the growth has not benefitted all communities equally. As the cost of living soars, San Francisco’s African American population has dramatically declined. And despite the proliferation of well-paying tech sector jobs, African Americans make up 2% of San Francisco’s tech workforce. Simply put, many young African Americans are not earning a livable wage in San Francisco and thus cannot afford to live in the city they call home.
The African American Postsecondary Pathway is committed to changing this. In March 2015, SFUSD partnered with the Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Foundation, and a collaborative of community based organizations to launch the African American Postsecondary Pathway (AAPP), an initiative designed to prepare African American students for college and career and ensure completion of postsecondary education. In the spring of 2015, AAPP partners worked with their first cohort of students, 234 African American 12th graders, to connect them to college and career coaching, summer job opportunities, and professional networking opportunities.
Since the graduation of the Class of 2015, Beyond 12, a college persistence nonprofit based out of San Francisco, has provided SFUSD African American graduates with personalized coaching, in addition to supplying SFUSD and community partners with data on African American student persistence and success in postsecondary. San Francisco community - based organizations, Mo’MAGIC, 100% College Prep, SF Achievers, Young Community Developers, and Alive & Free have been integral on-the-ground partners in providing regular in-person contact with students through an intake process, one-on-one follow up, and community-building events.
In addition, over the last year, the African American Postsecondary Pathway’s focus on post-secondary success has broadened to support rising 9th through 11th graders. The Office of College and Career Readiness and the African American Achievement & Leadership Initiative plan to run a high school readiness pilot program in summer 2017 specifically aimed at rising African American 9th graders in the district, while also supporting several district schools in adopting courses on positive cultural identity and college preparation for African American male students.
The combined efforts of SFUSD departments and community partners led to a 7% increase in the four year cohort graduation rate for African American students in 2014 – 2015.
“As we see and measure what works for this first cohort, we will backwards plan to prepare our students for success much earlier. We intend to map to the outcomes we want: postsecondary credentials and a livable salary for African American families in our city,” said Landon Dickey, Special Assistant of African American Achievement and Leadership for San Francisco Unified School District. “We will do this by building a community of support around each student’s dream for career and life, and ensure that every African American young person can fully participate in the vibrant economy and culture of San Francisco.”
The African American Postsecondary Pathway Project is led by Landon Dickey, Special Assistant for African American Achievement & Leadership at SFUSD. The collaborative is made up of City and County departments, business, and philanthropic and community based organizations, including: