SVCF supports 2 educational initiatives with $100,000 grants to prepare low-income students for college & career

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MOUNTAIN VIEW — Two outstanding and innovative education initiatives have been chosen to receive $100,000 each as part of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s (SVCF) 10-year anniversary competitive grant-making initiative.

The special initiative, announced last year, was designed to jump-start creative solutions in each of four areas that have long been strategically important to SVCF: building strong communities; economic security of low-income communities; immigration and – the area being recognized with SVCF’s second 10th anniversary grant award – education.

The two winning programs that will receive grants in this subject area will 1) help improve Internet access for homework purposes for low-income students in Redwood City who lack such access; and 2) enable a charter school system to develop an app to foster college-readiness in students and their parents.

“With this grant-making initiative, Silicon Valley Community Foundation sought creative new ideas, and we are proud to be able to support two non-profit organizations that articulated innovative yet practical plans for preparing low-income students for college and career,” said Valerie Cuevas, senior program officer at SVCF. “We look forward to seeing their plans come to life, and seeing students reach their academic goals with the help of the tools SVCF is funding.”

The two programs that will receive $100,000 each are:
Redwood City Library Foundation’s Bridging the Digital Divide Initiative: The Redwood City Library Foundation will develop a customized program to loan laptops, wi-fi hotspot devices and charging kiosks to low-income middle school students at seven schools close to the Fair Oaks branch of the Redwood City Library. More than 30 percent of students in the surrounding neighborhoods lack reliable Internet access at home. For middle school students, this can make accessing their electronic math textbooks and completing their other assignments very difficult in the evening and on weekends, and there is a risk that they will fall behind in their work. Students in other grades will be able to borrow the equipment, but priority will be given to closing the digital divide among middle school students who must have access to the Internet for their mathematics instruction and homework.

ACE Charter Schools’ ACE FamilyLink platform: ACE Charter Schools, which operates four schools serving low-income San Jose neighborhoods and students who have struggled in traditional schools, will build an online platform and mobile app called FamilyLink. Designed to build a college-ready mindset in students, the tools will allow students and teachers to set personalized, near-term goals and track progress. Parents will receive English- and Spanish-language updates about students’ goals, progress and how they can support their children’s progress. The app will also coach students in implementing learning strategies, and will help them recognize and celebrate the milestones they individually achieve.

The latest grants represent an expansion of SVCF’s longstanding focus on providing professional development for mathematics teachers; supporting high-quality learning experiences after school and in the summer; and helping middle school students prepare for college and career.

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