6 Productive Educational Organizations in California

While California is home to many incredible schools and institutions of higher learning, not everyone gets to take advantage of them, and some communities have students who are continually falling behind. These organizations work across the state to address areas of need and ensure that the next generation of kids is educated, enthusiastic, and given the opportunity to learn and pursue their ambitions regardless of where they come from. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Organizations Improving Education in California

Name Headquarters Objective
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Los Angeles Manages underserved schools in Boyle Heights, South LA, and Watts, closing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates by aiding teachers in professional development and engaging local communities
Challenge Success Stanford Champions a more inclusive definition of success, working with schools to employ research-based strategies that consider student well-being over grades and critical thinking skills over test scores to encourage a life-long relationship with learning
California Teachers Association Burlingame Advocates on behalf of educators, provides informational resources to its membership base, and supports teachers, social workers, and other educational professionals working in schools through professional development
Fremont Union High School District Sunnyvale Five high schools boasting a 96% graduation rate and offering a wealth of options for students, including summer programs, college enrichment workshops, the AVID cohort-based model, an English Language Learner program, and Career Technical Education courses
Techbridge Girls Oakland Works to help female students achieve economic mobility and improve their quality of life through an emphasis on STEM education in low-income communities, assisting educators and offering after-school programs
KIPP Bay Area Public Schools Oakland Network of charter schools seeking to create high-achieving learning environments in historically underserved areas, and offering KIPP Through College, a specialized program including counseling, alumni advising, and college readiness services

Challenge Success Asks: What Does A Healthy Kid Look Like?

Important Literacy Statistics

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How Many American Children Live In Poverty?

Percentage of children ages 0–17 by family income relative to the poverty threshold, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

Poverty Level 1980 1990 2000 2010 2011 2012 2014 2015 2016
Below 50% of poverty threshold 6.9% 8.8% 6.7% 9.9% 9.8% 9.7% 9.3% 8.9% 8.2%
50% - 99% of poverty threshold 11.4% 11.8% 9.5% 12.1% 12.0% 12.1% 11.9% 10.8% 9.8%

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In Depth

With the largest state population in the U.S., California is home to a number of diverse communities, making it one of the biggest and most productive economies in the world. At the foundation of this booming economy is a robust education system, which serves millions of students each year. To give its young residents the best shot at success, the Golden State possesses a range of learning opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom. If you are interested in discovering more about these offerings, then here are, in no particular order, six organizations working to educate students in California.

Coming in at #1 is the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Launched in 2007 as a collaboration between several private and public groups, the Partnership is a nonprofit that, as of 2019, manages eighteen LA Unified schools, reaching more than 13,000 students. Seeking to improve outcomes for all students, this organization applies strategies that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable, particularly at high-need institutions.

Its operating model has at its heart a three-pronged process, involving great leaders, highly effective teaching, and engaged and empowered communities. As one of the largest, in-district public school transformation organizations in the country, the Partnership takes a collaborative approach to its work, focusing its efforts on creating strong links with other groups, community members, and funders. Examples of its partners include City Year, the Mission Continues, and the Wasserman Foundation. If you are interested in getting involved with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, consider checking out its blog or making a donation online.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, consider checking out its blog or making a donation online.

In the #2 spot is Challenge Success. Founded as an expansion of Stanford's Stressed-Out Students Project, this nonprofit works with schools, families, and communities to help students succeed. Championing a more inclusive definition of success, this organization employs research-based strategies to equip students with the critical thinking skills that they need to thrive. Overall, it seeks to shift the focus in education, moving away from an outlook exclusively preoccupied with academic achievement toward a broader, more holistic approach.

Since its formation circa 2007, Challenge Success has had a wide impact across the country, reaching over 450 learning communities and providing more than 225 professional workshops. Programs that make use of its services utilize its SPACE Framework for School Change, which can be adapted to fit the needs of each learning environment. Furthermore, this nonprofit runs its own Summer Leadership Seminar, which brings together leaders from around the United States to learn, network, and explore its offerings. Those who wish to support Challenge Success can look into its internship opportunities or can make donations through its website.

At #3 is the California Teachers Association. Established in 1863 as the California Educational Society by John Swett, CTA brings together teachers, counselors, librarians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other educational professionals to support their development and engage in advocacy. In addition, this organization defends the rights of its members and public school students across the state. As of 2019, it boasts a membership of around 310,000 individuals.

Established in 1863 as the California Educational Society by John Swett, CTA brings together teachers, counselors, librarians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other educational professionals to support their development and engage in advocacy.

Through its Institute for Teaching, CTA promotes teacher-driven change via a variety of programs, including the IFT Grant Program, which has given awards amounting to over four million dollars, and IFT's Regional Teacher Think Tanks, which gives classroom practitioners a space to exchange ideas. Elsewhere, CTA collects and publishes information on a number of relevant ongoing issues, covering topics such as student support services and collective bargaining. If you are interested in getting involved with the California Teachers Association, consider following its social media accounts to receive updates.

Coming in at #4 is the Fremont Union High School District, founded in 1923. With five high schools in Silicon Valley, it serves around 11,000 students. Dedicated to both excellence and equity, this organization commits itself to the success of all its students, no matter their backgrounds, and collaborates with teachers, staff, and leaders who are not content with the status quo.

In addition, the Fremont Union High School District provides many other educational opportunities, several of which serve targeted populations or nontraditional learners. Middle College, for instance, offers a mix of high school and college credit courses for F.U.H.S.D. students who need an alternative learning environment, while College Now gives seniors the chance to earn their diplomas while also receiving a year of college credits. Furthermore, it runs enrichment workshops and summer programs for students looking to supplement their learning experiences. Those who wish to support F.U.H.S.D. can look into joining one of its advisory committees.

Furthermore, it runs enrichment workshops and summer programs for students looking to supplement their learning experiences.

In the #5 spot is Techbridge Girls. Established in 2000 with a grant from the National Science Foundation, TBG strives to increase access to science, technology, engineering, and math for girls, particularly those from low-income communities. By deploying top-notch STEM programming, it seeks to help female students achieve economic mobility and improve their quality of life. Launched in Oakland, this organization has expanded considerably since its founding, today reaching young people in California, the Pacific Northwest, and Washington, D.C.

Powered by the values of perseverance, authenticity, innovation, growth, and equity, TBG has the ambitious goal of serving one million girls by 2030. To accomplish its mission, Techbridge Girls conducts three different after-school programs for young people in elementary, middle, and high school. Furthermore, it has created professional development trainings and resources to assist educators in their teaching of STEM subjects. If you want to lend a helping hand to this organization, you can volunteer in a variety of roles or subscribe to its newsletter.

Last but not least, at #6 is KIPP Bay Area Public Schools. A network of public charter schools, this nonprofit founded in 2002 operates at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, seeking to create high-achieving learning environments in historically underserved areas. As of 2019, it serves over 6,000 students and has an active alumni community.

A network of public charter schools, this nonprofit founded in 2002 operates at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, seeking to create high-achieving learning environments in historically underserved areas.

Working to prepare students for success in college and beyond, KIPP Bay Area sets measurable, well-defined expectations for academic achievement and personal conduct. It also seeks to instill a strong sense of character in its students, with the belief that such an attribute is integral to future success. Moreover, it runs KIPP Through College, a specialized program including counseling, alumni advising, and college readiness services, to help young people explore opportunities for higher education. Those who wish to get involved with this nonprofit can check out its blog or make donations online.