There are a host of organizations on the San Francisco Peninsula that are working to provide excellent educational opportunities to low-income students and people of color.
Many of the programs are the brainchildren of visionaries who see the need for a level playing field. Low income children can excel -- they just need specific interventions at various grade levels.
- Beechwood School, a K-8 school founded by some visionary families of the California Family Foundation (Boyd and Jill Johnson Smith; Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley; and Richard and Susan Jacobsen) . In an area where private school tuition is in the $16,000-plus range, Beechwood is able to charge just $1,350, and has more support available.
- Eastside College Prep, an 8-12 high school in East Palo Alto. The brainchild of Chris Bischof, Eastside was founded in 1996 "to prepare minority students from this underserved community for college. Eastside has met its goal with unmitigated success: every graduate has enrolled in a four-year college. 97% of Eastside students are the first in their family to attend college." (Bischof raises almost all of the $3.2 million per year required to run the program. Donors have contributed land and the school is in the process of building an endowment. Tuition is not charged. ECP is funded in part by the California Family Foundation and All Stars Helping Kids)
- Peninsula Bridge: Runs programs that help low-income middle-school children prepare for, and excel in the classes required for eventual college acceptance. "Peninsula Bridge was founded in 1989, as a partnership between a public school district (Ravenswood/East Palo Alto), an independent school (Sacred Heart Prep), and a local nonprofit organization (Boys and Girls Club)", by another visionary, Les Dewitt,. The program has an annual budget of about $650,000, and serves over 300 kids per year. Many of the local private schools that provide space and tutors do not have the resources for full school-year scholarships.
- College Track In 1995, it became clear to the founders that the San Francisco Peninsula needed a comprehensive program for low-income highschool students to provide guidance and support, so that they could become the first of their families to go to college. The full-fledged program began in the fall of 1997. The mission is simple: College Track exists to help students, who have the desire but lack the resources and support, to attain higher education and fulfill their own best promise.
- The Girls' Middle School was founded in 1998 by the visionary Kathleen Bennett, who insisted that a large percentage of the enrollment --ideally 20%--should be girls from populations traditionally underrepresented in independent schools. You do that by providing more-than-full scholarships and by having a school-wide value on cultural competence.
- Downtown College Prep "is the first charter high school in Silicon Valley, and the only school that explicitly prepares underachieving students for college success. DCP targets low-achieving urban minority students who will be the first in their family to go to college." DCP also raises about $1.6 million annually to fund the program above the level provided by the school district. DCP is the brainchild of two more visionaries: Jennifer Andaluz and Greg Lippman
- St. Elizabeth Seton is a program of St. Thomas Aqcuin. The school is k-8 and serves children from East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park. It was founded to meet the parochial educational needs of a multicultural population in the parishes of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Palo Alto), Saint Francis of Assisi (East Palo Alto) and Saint Anthony of Padua (Menlo Park and Redwood City).
We carry on the tradition of the American saint after whom our school is named. Elizabeth Seton started her first Catholic school because she believed that a Catholic education should be available to those who could not afford it as well as to those who could.
- East Palo Alto Charter School -- an Aspire charter school that "believes that college prep begins in kindergarten".
- East Palo Alto High School (which now may be Stanford New School)--now under the managment of the Stanford School Corporation)
- Bay Area People of Color in Independent Schools
- Bay Area People of Color in Independent Schools (BA-POCIS) is an organization which supports teachers, administrators, parents and students who believe that multiculturalism is endemic to quality education for all.
- A Better Chance : California member schools include Castilleja, Crystal Springs, and Menlo.
- An organization founded in 1963 with the mission of increasing the
number of well-educated minority youth capable of assuming positions of
responsibility and leadership in American society.
- An organization founded in 1963 with the mission of increasing the number of well-educated minority youth capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.
- Foundation for College Education: "By providing free comprehensive academic and college guidance services, FCE aims to increase the number of students of color enrolling in and graduating from 4-year colleges and universities. In particular, we target talented African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American students." The FCE program aims not just getting in to college, but excelling while there and graduating.
- Level Playing Field Institute: "Level Playing Field Institute helps remove the barriers that prevent individuals from achieving long-term equality and fairness in the higher education system and the workplace. By breaking through these barriers in high schools, colleges, graduate schools, and workplaces, we promote full participation"