Follow our Workgroup and Collaborative updates for the months of November and December 2017
L.A. Regional STEM Hub
The L.A. Regional STEM Hub serves as the program administer for the Amgen Biotech Experience – Los Angeles (ABE-LA). This initiative empowers secondary school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, providing students with project based learning opportunities to deepen their science understanding. High school students and teachers participate in ABE-LA kit preparation to build their biotechnology lab skills, learn about the industry side of biotech, and network with workday mentors, who include local college students majoring in STEM fields, college STEM professors, and practicing scientists. These workdays happen on a recurrent basis every 3 weeks. The STEM Hub will enhance ABE-LA outreach to underserved students and increase diversity and inclusion in under-resourced schools across the great Los Angeles area. The ABE-LA seeks to cultivate regional communication and collaboration with employers to advance the biotechnology sector in L.A. The STEM Hub Network will elevate the Amgen Biotech experience as a model for employers in STEM fields to stimulate interest and opportunities for replication. Scaling ABE-LA will increase awareness and exposure of STEM related pathways to more students in under-resourced communities.
Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Collaborative
Student Success Workgroup: On November 7th, the Student Success Workgroup hosted its first event, “Working Across Systems to Promote College Math Readiness.” This convening brought together faculty and administrative leaders from across L.A. Unified, the L.A. Community College District, and four-year universities in the area to discuss ways to strengthen student transitions and success in college math. The event featured policy updates from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, a panel discussion with researchers and practitioners on best practices for using multiple measures to determine math placement, and a panel with LAUSD and CSUN faculty leaders on co-designing senior year math courses to better prepare students for successful transitions. Following the convening, the Student Success Workgroup members met to debrief the event and think through possible next steps, including pursuing joint funding to further convene and support cross-sector collaboration around this issue.
At the end of November, the Student Success Workgroup also sent a delegation to participate in the national Complete College America convening in New Orleans. Representatives from LACCD, CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State L.A. attended the event to learn more about national efforts to support on-time degree completion. The Student Success Workgroup will continue to explore the possibility of working with the national CCA network to receive technical assistance for local campuses engaged in related student success initiatives, such as math pathway development.
Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Leadership Team, convened by First 5 LA
Six of the eight communities participating in the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) project will begin collecting Early Development Instrument (EDI) data in 2018. All data will be collected by March 2018 and districts will participate in individual coaching with the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. District representatives will also participate in the quarterly shared learning network where they will collaborate with others in L.A. County to identify trends in EDI data and share best practices at the local level.
L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC), convened by the Alliance for Children's Rights
OYC Stewardship Group: The last Stewardship meeting occurred on Wednesday November 8th at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. Members met the new Alliance CEO, Laurie Rubiner, and heard updates on progress since the last meeting. Jessica Petrass of John Burton Advocates for Youth provided an update on the work that has been done with the Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP) since January 2017. The Stewardship Group considered ways to improve integration of the OYC’s higher education and workforce development strategies for foster youth. In addition, Harvey Kawasaki of the L.A. County CEO Service Integration Branch came to present on the TAY Self-Sufficiency Board Motion. Carrie Lemmon with the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce provided a brief update on a grant that the Chamber and the Alliance have applied for to engage the OYC in a strategic planning process.
OYC Quarterly Meeting: The OYC Quarterly Meeting was held at the Goodwill Enrichment Center on November 15th. The meeting’s topic focused on youth voice and engagement. 5 foster youth from various organizations (National Foster Youth Initiative, Project Tipping Point, California Youth Connection, and OYC Young Leaders) came together for a youth voice panel moderated by Stephanie Lopez (OYC) to discuss the ways in which L.A. County and partnering organizations can improve educational and employment services to foster youth. After the panel, Julien (OYC) provided a rubric created by the Silicon Valley Trust Fund that helps organizations self-assess their level of engagement with youth. From alumni hiring, peer to peer mentorship, training staff on how to work with youth, and much more, the rubric helped OYC partners work on improvements in their own organizations. The next Quarterly Meeting will convene in early 2018.
OYC Young Leaders: The L.A. County Board of Supervisors requested to have the Young Leaders participate in a focus group for the Foster Youth Bill of Rights. The Young Leaders reviewed a matrix of rights that focused specifically on TAY and Education. They provided great feedback and the County has asked for their help in reviewing the documents to be published (60 pages, a 1-page simple version, and a web version) and to attend a meeting in February 2018 that will provide a more finalized draft to the Board of Supervisors.
The Young Leaders have also been very active on their own, speaking at various engagements around town such as College Within Reach and participating in The Blueprint Conference where Demontea Thompson was the M.C. Several other young leaders attended the conference to participate in workshops that help further move foster youth to college and succeed in other school endeavors.
OYC Foster Youth College Advancement Program (FYCAP), convened by the John Burton Foundation and UNITE-LA: The OYC Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP) came together on October 30th and on November 30th to check in on various work streams. During October and November, FYCAP provided input to the L.A. County CEO’s Office and to the L.A. County Commission on Children and Families on the development of a county-wide strategic plan to promote self-sufficiency for transition age foster youth and on the inclusion of postsecondary planning items within the Foster Youth Bill of Rights. In October, FYCAP also worked with the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to present to all Foster Family Agencies and Group Home administrators in L.A. County on college planning and financial aid application processes for foster youth and to solicit each group’s interest in receiving additional training on these topics. FYCAP has continued working with DCFS Regional Offices in Palmdale and Lancaster to develop a training plan to support social workers in embedding college planning activities within child-family team meetings and within transition to independent living planning.
During these months, FYCAP also supported local K-12 and community college districts in improving their data on foster youth. First, FYCAP worked with El Camino College to update data collection methods in order to identify more foster youth, as well as to use the cohort tracking tool in Cal-PASS Plus to compare student outcomes for the Guardian Scholars program relative to outcomes for the campus general population and for foster youth not served by the program. FYCAP also worked with LAUSD to plan how its Foster Youth Achievement Program will use data from the Cal-PASS Plus Foster Youth Dashboard to inform program planning. Lastly, FYCAP coordinated with the L.A. Community College District Office to present to all 9 campus institutional research leads on the topic of foster youth identification.
In the area of financial aid, several FYCAP partners--including the L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE), LAUSD, L.A. Cash for College, the Children’s Law Center, and John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY)--have been coordinating strategies to train providers on financial aid and to directly assist youth with FAFSA completion as part of JBAY’s statewide Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge. The Foster Youth Coordinating Services Program at LACOE will be the lead agency in these efforts, with support from JBAY and UNITE-LA.
FYCAP will reconvene in the new year, hosting a workgroup meeting on January 17th and working with Judge Margaret Henry to convene Court Scholars on January 22nd. The group will also convene partners in the Antelope Valley on January 30th.
Performance Partnership Pilot (P3), convened by L.A. City EWDD
The P3 quarterly meeting in November focused on collaborative efforts to improve outcomes for a particularly vulnerable subpopulation of disconnected youth: transition-age foster youth. Jeannine Balfour, Senior Program Officer with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, shared an overview of the foundation’s Foster Youth Strategic Initiative. In order to ensure that all transition-age foster youth in Los Angeles become self-sufficient and thriving adults, the Foundation has identified three priority strategies: 1) Strengthen systems & policy for foster youth; 2) Expand and share knowledge with the field; and 3) Advance innovative foster youth programs. Carrie Lemmon with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce shared highlights from the L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative’s multi-year initiative to improve foster youth access to early subsidized work experiences. The campaign has contributed to an 840% increase in foster youth enrolling in the annual L.A. County Youth Jobs Program, from 83 in 2013 to 779 in 2016.
On November 16th, the LA County Board of Supervisors passed a motion in response to a Board Letter signed by several county departments endorsing the P3 Strategic Plan, and included instructions to various County departments. On Nov 30th, an advisory board of LA P3 partners met at Cal State Northridge for the inaugural planning meeting to launch the Reconnecting LA’s Youth (ReLAY) Institute – a research collaboration between the 5 CSUs in L.A. County to improve outcomes for disconnected youth. Other moving parts for P3 include the implementation of Measure H funds for transition aged youth and the development of a countywide protocol for camp and juvenile hall returnees. The first Homeless Service Agency Job Fair was held on December 7th at LA City Hall with over 20 agencies hiring the best of LA's workforce to serve our region's homeless populations.