Hillsboro School District Recieves $175,000 Meyer Memorial Trust Grant
December 4, 2017 - HSD was recently awarded a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust for $175,000 in support of programs aimed at enhancing positive school connections, improving academic outcomes, and ultimately increasing the graduation and college-going rates of historically underserved students.
Grant funds will be distributed in the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 school years, allowing for the implementation of a robust and scalable program that will be overseen and executed by Federal Programs Director Olga Acuña, our Measure 98-funded Graduation Coaches and Student Support & Wellness Counselors, and PSU Researcher on Contract Miriam Miranda Diaz.
The program model has four key focus areas: Coaching and Advocacy; Climate and Culture; Family Involvement; and Community Involvement. Through these focus areas and the following six strategies, the program will initially serve twenty 9th grade Latino males - five from each of our comprehensive high schools.
Program strategies are:
- Cultural competence. Latino young men are not always served well in our current educational system, and any successful approach in better serving this group of students must be grounded in cultural competency and cultural relevance. The proposed program has been informed by the students and families we serve as well as by culturally-specific community-based organizations that also know and serve these families.
- Personalized and student-driven approach. The program is intentionally designed to honor student voice-and-choice and to be personalized to individual student needs and interests - whether those be academic, social/emotional, or a combination of both.
- Multifaceted mentorship and support model. By identifying each student’s unique needs and interests, they can be appropriately served within the program’s four pillars: Increasing access to resources and supports; Group mentoring; One-on-one mentoring; and Student engagement/enrichment activities.
- Well-supported adults lead to well-supported students. In order to ensure our students are receiving the supports they deserve, we need to provide program and district staff in our system with the training and support to implement this program.
- Listening to and learning from community and family partners. Another strategy is utilizing our families and community partners as both active program participants and program advisors.
- Staged implementation. Our program will be rolled out in two initial stages, with the plan to further expand in the coming years. The first stage began this fall with our pilot group of twenty 9th grade Latino males. Each has been matched to a wellness counselor and/or graduation coach at their high school and will receive specialized supports, including academic assistance, social-emotional supports, and connection to school and community resources. The second stage will come in the winter and spring of 2018 when we begin to scale-up this work by recruiting and training district and community mentors and finalizing details for a full-scale launch in the fall of 2018.
The ultimate goal of the program is to expand it to serve additional grades and/or additional groups of historically underserved students. This prospect is what most excites Olga: “In two to three years we will have a good idea about the strategies that worked well and the data we need to replicate the program for other students.”
This grant falls perfectly in line with our existing efforts to know every student by name, strength, and need, and will provide an exciting opportunity to launch a systematic and streamlined program for our students. We look forward to following the progress of this program in the years to come.