The 10 Promises

By delivering on the 10 Promises to the community, EPN commits to building a cradle to career pathway of success in education and life. Learn more about our progress by clicking on each of the links below.

General Overview: The EPN Cradle to Career Pathway

Cradle to Career PathwayWhen is a picture worth more than a thousand words? When it shows a pathway for success in education and life. The graphic above illustrates the rich path of resources and opportunities available for children and families in our neighborhood that leads to educational success, workforce opportunities, and family and community stability. A few highlights of this cradle to career pathway include:

  • The path begins with healthy families who have workforce opportunities, are financially empowered, and  have access to quality wraparound supports and services
  • To start Kindergarten ready to succeed in school, EPN children need quality early learning opportunities
  • Students achieve academic proficiency when their parents are engaged and there is academic rigor, tutoring and mentoring support, access to STEAM opportunities, and a safe environment inside and outside the school
  • As students graduate high school they have access to post-secondary and trade certification opportunities

Parents, caregivers, and residents have access to a parallel pipeline of opportunities through the Eastside Financial Empowerment Centers, the Annie E. Casey dual generation workforce pipeline, and San Antonio Housing Authority’s Choice Neighborhood revitalization of the Wheatley Courts community.

P1. Children enter Kindergarten ready to succeed in school

  GPRA 1: Number and percent of children birth to five years old that have a place where they usually go, other than an emergency room, when they are sick or in need of advice about their health.   g1t1 About our targets Given the barriers to Medicaid expansion in Texas and the educational and socioeconomic levels of our target population, members of the community target setting committee agreed to a 10% relative increase in this GPRA over the 2012 baseline; this relative increase takes into account the experience documented at the national level, while also considering EPN’s intentional strategies. The 2015 Neighborhood Survey yielded results that 63.5% of the survey respondents reported having an established medical home for their child 0-5 years of age, a slight decrease from last year.* However, the percentage is considerably larger than the target established in 2012/13. Additional strategies will be implemented during the next reporting period, in particular a “door to door” information and referral program, “Community Connectors”, that will be aimed at families of the target population (families with children 0-5) specifically to connect them to a medical home and other EPN resources. Solutions for 2015 target1.

  1. EPN connects parents to health resources by engaging with service providers to inquire whether children currently have healthcare and helping parents connect to healthcare providers if one is not selected. Three programs focus on connecting parents to health resources. Two of these programs fall under a Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant – Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) and the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) [Please see GPRA 2 for more information on MIECHV programming]. The third program is Parent Talk. All three programs are administered by Catholic Charities.

Launched in 2014, HIPPY specifically targets parents of young children in the EPN footprint to offer in-home programming that empowers parents as the primary educators of their children. Parent Talk is a voluntary group-based parenting and life skills program for EPN parents or caregivers of children 0 to 17 and is in its fourth year of implementation. NFP, also launched in 2014, agreed to report data if they had any participants who lived in our footprint; however this program is not specifically targeting EPN footprint residents and as a result will be removed as a solution. To date 156 EPN families from the footprint have been involved with HIPPY and Parent Talk programs respectively. One hundred and fifteen of these families established a medical home for their children at the time of enrollment. An additional 15 participating families established a medical home for their children later during program participation for a total of 130 families establishing a medical home. As a result of limitations with data collection during the reporting period, the reported information is for all families not just those with children 0 – 5. Catholic Charities is currently reviewing options within their database to collect age specific information moving forward. g1t2 2.  EPN participates in a number of community efforts to further its outreach to parents:

  • UHS OMH – Through a partnership with University Health System (UHS) on a project funded with a grant from the Office of Minority Health, United Way received a contract for two years to hire a Community Health Educator (CHE). The CHE educates footprint residents on their insurance options. The sub-contract began on November 14, 2014 and ends on September 1, 2016. While the CHE position has been filled by several individuals in the reporting period, two part-time employees are currently implementing the project. Program activity includes providing materials for outreach in EPN and Community Partner (including school-based) events. Additionally, the CHE conducts education sessions with groups operating in the footprint that are both identified by EPN staff and based on their own experience. An aggressive outreach plan including a school and community based approach will continue to be refined to ensure targets are met. During the reporting period, 124 individuals received outreach and 38 participated in education sessions. Staff will discuss adding measures to UHS tracking tools to determine how many of the families receiving outreach materials and education sessions have children 0-5, effective July 1st for inclusion in the AdHoc 2015 Report.
  • COMMUNITY CONNECTOR PROGRAM – H.I.S. Bridge Builders is the selected community based organization to manage this program which will launch August 2015. The Community Connector program is designed to use a peer to peer network to assist community residents in connecting to available resources in the footprint. The development of this program with the lead organization (H.IS. Bridge Builders) has led to the establishment of peer to peer programming protocols and data collection instruments that enable “hard” referrals (connections to a specific person rather than an agency) and diligent follow ups; a process that will serve as a model for other peer to peer networking. Next steps include finalizing the instrument, finalizing a resource directory, and consulting with our IRB. The program is not scheduled to begin until the next reporting cycle; therefore there is no data to report for this solution.
  • UIW TEAM FOR KIDS – UIW’s contract for the “Team for Kids” Program was completed as of December 31st Program data was included in the AdHoc 2014, as the contract ended 12/31/14 [Please see ADHOC 2014 for program data]. During this reporting period, UIW informed the Committee of their plans to submit a grant to continue similar work of providing home-based and group education sessions for families with children 0-5 with asthma or asthma related illness. The application required the establishment of a community based committee and a representative from UIW requested the PaCT Health and Wellness Committee fill that role. The Committee agreed and will move forward once notification of award has been received. To ensure the connection between working with families of children with asthma and medical home continues regardless of the funding, staff will approach other organizations implementing similar programs in the footprint to discuss the inclusion of EPN families as a target population.

Impact from the Connect Parents to Health Resource Strategy g1t3 3.  Another EPN strategy is to work with program partnerships to ensure children have a medical home. Participating adults in our Dual Generation initiative [see GPRA 11 for Dual Generation details] are required to establish a medical home. If their child does not have a medical home, the child care provider must assist the family with establishing a medical home. Goodwill Industries, an anchor partner in the Dual Gen effort, reports that from January 1st – June 30th, 112 children ages 0-5 participated in the program receiving quality child care and therefore having an established medical home. Also, both Early Head Start and Head Start require medical homes prior to registration. According to Tynan administrators, 32 Early Head Start students and 246 Head Start students (96.5% of the student population) have a medical home. Because they include new enrolled students from SY 2014-15, these numbers are included in the students served. For 2015-2016 Early Head Start does not officially begin serving students until August 2015.  g1t4  4. EPN also contracts with Family Service Association to provide an Early Childhood Parent Facilitator focused on increasing the engagement of parents with children enrolled at the EPN early childhood locations [Please see GPRA 2 for more detail on this role]. The facilitator raises awareness about the importance of establishing a medical home for children 0-5 by building on the organization’s expertise of coordinating the Family School Community Partnership. EPN and Family Service Association developed performance measures for the Parent Facilitator during the reporting period. The performance measures around medical home include referring families of children 0-5 to insurance resources and coordinating events where health insurance options and information are available. During the reporting period 5,515 families received these outreach Due to the lack of specific data collection that identifies the targeted age children; these numbers are not in the final GPRA count above. g1t5

  1. For 2015-16, EPN’s partner, Choice Neighborhoods, has partnered with University Health System (UHS) to build a primary care clinic in the footprint; this will significantly increase access to and utilization of medical services. The center will be built on a 2-acre site owned by San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA). UHS will invest an estimated $4 million to construct, equip and staff the new location, projected to open in early 2016. In the interim, the Clinic has located at a temporary site in the footprint providing healthcare services including complete family care, primary care, chronic disease management, pediatrics and well child checkups, immunizations, TB screenings, and obstetrics. During the reporting period, EPN staff met with the Clinic Director to explore opportunities for collaboration on marketing services to families which children 0-5. However, most recently there has been a change in leadership. The Clinic Director at UHS is now employed with Communicare, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located just outside the footprint. The interim UHS Clinic Director has agreed to continue sharing requested data and indicated 63 EPN children ages 0-5 had received services from January 1st – June 30th. A meeting will be held to discuss continued collaboration with the clinic and encourage participation on the Health and Wellness Committee. EPN will continue to maintain relationships with both UHS and Communicare, to continue making the community aware of the resources available and list them as referrals for the Community Connectors Program as a location for securing a medical home.

g1t6   Data Collection Updates: *Please see Results Scorecard 2015 Challenges section for additional year-to-year trending challenges.

GPRA 2A: Number and percent of three-year olds who demonstrate at the beginning of the program or school year age-appropriate functioning across multiple domains of early learning.   g2at1  About our targets Young children in the EPN have 3 options for formal early education: Head Start, Pre-K or Child Development Centers. As noted in previous reports, there were several data challenges surrounding “GPRA 2A – 3 Year Old Age-Appropriate Functioning”. These challenges were due largely in part to the inconsistency in assessment tools used across program sites (CIRCLE and Frog Street) and EPN’s inability to disaggregate the available data by age (3 vs. 4 year olds). In response to these challenges, EPN previously has reported an average of the percent assessed as “age-appropriate” across the multiple tools used by EPN programs. Doing so was necessary if a single measure was to be reported without having consistent scales. In addition, these averages included the assessments of 4 year olds enrolled in pre-K or Head Start that could not be parsed out. Fortunately, school year 2014-2015 was the first year that all EPN Pre-K and Head Start programs used CIRCLE as their assessment tool. Beyond that, EPN has worked with SAISD in order to receive the data in a format that allows for disaggregation by age group allowing identification of 3 and 4 year old results separately. Although the data reported in 2015 (and beyond) differs from that previously reported, the quality of the data has increased tremendously and will yield more accurate monitoring. As a result of this assessment change we will be able to accurately analyze student growth over multiple years. That information will be reported in the Ad Hoc report.   Rather than reporting an average of scores across multiple tools, a composite from one assessment is now being used. The changes in data are most noticeable in the decreased denominator from 2014 to 2015. This can be attributed partly to the exclusion of 4 year olds. However, this decline is in line with the trend seen in previous years. Additionally impacting the rate is the fact that SAISD discontinued the use of Frog Street assessments (while continuing to use Frog Street curriculum). As of this reporting period, SAISD reports that 130 of all 139 assessed three year old children in the EPN footprint’s Head Start and Pre-K classrooms demonstrated age-appropriate functioning at the beginning of the school year.(CIRCLE report, 2014-15). This equates to 93.5% while 93.3% of three year old children attending the footprint childcare centers demonstrated age appropriate functioning in multiple domains per the Brigance Early Childhood Developmental Inventory.   Solutions for 2015 target

  1. Strengthen Curriculum and Instruction: As the first solution leading to age appropriate functioning, EPN is strengthening the curriculum and instruction of private childcare centers to more effectively align with Head Start and/or Pre-K rigor. EPN works primarily with three childcare centers within the EPN footprint: Ella Austin Child Development, Miller Child Development, and Healey Murphy Child Development Center.
  • The City of San Antonio was awarded a grant to implement Early Head Start (EHS) at five locations, three of which include EPN/Dual Generation partner centers: Ella Austin, Healy-Murphy, and Miller Childcare Development Center [see GPRA 11 for more on our Dual Generation effort]. The three EPN partner centers in the EHS grant have committed to offer a combined total of 168 childcare slots dedicated to EHS. The program is scheduled to begin service to students in August 2015; recruitment began in June. The number of students actually impacted will be reported in the 2016 AdHoc.
  • For these three centers, the expansion and integration of EHS services will also bring the addition of the Creative Curriculum for ages 0-3. The curriculum is developmentally leveled by Infant, Toddler, and Preschool development domains. The centers will also implement the Creative Curriculum and the accompanying GOLD assessment system for the preschool age children thereby aligning the curriculum for the children-Infant through Preschool. The assessment domains of the Creative Curriculum align with the domains assessed by the LAP-3 assessment used by SAISD Head Start. The curriculum alignment for these centers for all children is one step toward standardizing quality. The GOLD assessed domains align with the assessed domains measured by the school district to assess progress of SAISD 3 and 4 year old students.
  • For the past 3 years, a number of strategies have been employed to align the assessment tools for the centers for ages 0-5. Over the previous two years of the EPN partnership with the childcare centers alignment of the assessment process has been a central focus.   The process began with one center serving as a model utilizing the GOLD assessment beginning in 2013-14. The second used a checklist format aligned with the TEA PreKinder outcomes while the third utilized a teacher observation tool developed by the teachers. With the successful award of the EHS grant, EPN adjusted its approach to align the Center assessments with the new EHS required assessment. Toward that end, in June, 2015, EPN enrolled each of the three childcare centers in the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TAEYC) Assessment Pilot program. The program provides access to the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment which assesses the development and learning of children birth through kindergarten and is correlated to the Creative Curriculum for the 3-5 year old center students. EPN is also providing the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) systems for the three centers. This parent-response developmental and social/emotional evaluation is critical to increasing the Centers’ capacity to assess individual functioning and aid in early intervention. The ASQ is also used for parent evaluation. The implementation of both assessment components will correlate with the Early Head Start implementation and the training is simultaneous and conducted by EHS staff.   This effort completes the assessment alignment for the centers for all children age 0-5 and aligns with the assessed domains measured by the school district to assess progress of SAISD 3 and 4 year old students.
  • Quality Assurance: EPN implements a Quality Assurance program at the three centers in the footprint, impacting the 187 children ages 0-5 collectively. One-hundred of those students are EPN residents, 30 of whom are three-year olds. The Quality Assurance program described below consists of two parts: (a) establish Texas Rising Star accreditation for the three childcare centers, and (b) develop a highly qualified instructional workforce for early childhood education.
  •  Texas Rising Star Accreditation: The Quality Assurance program began in 2014 and focused first on assisting the three centers toward reaching accreditation through the Rising Star Accreditation process.  Rising Star is the four-tiered state accreditation process that certifies the quality level of childcare centers.   Each of the three centers has completed both an outside evaluation and a self-assessment to identify the center’s current level and establish targets for improvement to advance to the next level. Two centers were identified at the beginning of the process at Basic Tier and moving to Tier 2; the third center was identified at Tier 3 and is working toward Tier 4. EPN provides coaching to the three childcare centers on meeting standards for each level of Rising Star as well as assistance to be prepared for timely implementation of the Early Head Start program.

  EPN provides coaching to the three childcare centers on meeting standards for each level of Rising Star as well as assistance to be prepared for timely implementation of the Early Head Start program. The Rising Star requirements exceed the Early Head Start (EHS) Performance Standards. However, the high level of the EHS Performance Standards will rapidly advance the centers in their move to their respective Rising Star target levels. Each center’s plan of action includes:

  • meeting all required entry level EHS Performance Standards by August 2015;
  • reaching 50% of their respective Rising Star targets for the identified tier by December 31, 2015; and.
  • reaching the performance level needed to submit an application to the state for movement to their respective Rising Star target level by June 2016.

During the reporting period, the three site directors met regularly with an EPN-funded local expert for individual coaching toward accreditation and Early Head Start implementation. All three centers are on target to meet the established performance measure of 50% completion toward Rising Star accreditation by Dec. 2015. Other activities to assist the centers in the move toward achieving accreditation included:

  • 2 group trainings for the Center staff focused on positive adult-child interactions, health and safety, and how to deal with contentious situations; 26 of the 39 workers employed at the centers attended.
  • Additional site observations were conducted on June 1-12, 2015 by Pre-K for San Antonio (PreK4SA), a tax supported city-wide initiative for universal childcare for 4 year olds. PK4SA specifically provides professional development support for instructors of 4 year old children and is at no cost to the centers. These observations included reviewing lesson planning and implementation, room environment, classroom strategies, interactions and playground safety. During the next quarter, EPN will receive a full report from PreK4SA relative to those observations. Pending final approval from PreK4SA leadership, any common need areas that emerge as a result of the site observations will be included in a professional development strand specifically for the three sites and provided at one of the sites for convenient access for all.
  • During this reporting period, all centers have begun the self-assessment required by Texas Rising Star (TRS) and all site directors conducted classroom observations using TRS criteria.
  • CDA and Associate of Arts Program (AA): A key strategy of the EPN Quality Assurance Program is to build the teaching capacity of the EPN partner center staff. EPN pursued and received the Chase Fellows Pathways to Excellence Program, a J.P. Morgan Chase grant, to provide tuition and textbooks leading to an Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Learning for any childcare worker employed in the EPN footprint, and Child Development Association Certification classes for any resident desiring employment in a formal center or home based setting. Participants must reside in the footprint. EPN facilitates a referral for an employment interview to each childcare center in the footprint during the student’s final month of class and the students have priority over applicants not in the CDA classes. During this reporting period a total of 20 residents were enrolled in the programs offered; eight in the Associate of Arts Degree program, and twelve in the child Development Association Certification classes. In May and June 2015, each center began the process of interviewing and hiring additional staff to accommodate the restructure of classroom staffing required for Early Head Start standards.   Residents involved in the CDA program were referred to each center and are currently interviewing for those positions. Next steps include (1) continuing to monitor participant’s progress and provide support as needed to individual students until the completion of their program; (2) encourage current students to continue their education to next level to scaffold certificates and degrees; and (3) recruit new students into both programs.
  • The SAISD STEM Strategic Plan includes curriculum and instruction improvement beginning with Pre-K. Further explanation of the Strategic Plan is found in GPRA 4. SAISD, in collaboration with EPN, has reviewed the Pre-K component of the STEM plan to improve the age appropriateness of activities and assure alignment with the Texas Education Agency Pre-Kindergarten Outcomes. That review has resulted in the start of modifications to the Pre-K instructional framework to embed an increased number of performance-based applications within the curriculum guides. This process will continue through the summer months. To better implement the STEM plan described in GPRA 4, the district embedded an Instructional Dean, a Peer Assistant Teacher, and one Reading Teacher at Tynan Early Childhood Head Start Center, as well as, Bowden, Pershing, and Washington Elementary campuses during school year 2014/2015. A total of 372 Pre-K and Head Start students were impacted by these campus instructional teams during the reporting period.

The three positions assist in small group instruction within the classroom, model teaching, classroom observations and coaching, campus professional development, monitoring of student performance, and assisting instructional teams to use the data for improved instruction and targeted interventions. As a result, the combined efforts of these three positions also had a direct impact on all thirty of the classroom instructors teaching the Pre-K and Head Start students in the footprint. Each member of the EPN supported campus instructional support team provides a monthly report to EPN recording specific activities conducted that month and the impact of the activity. This report includes observations, coaching, and the evidence of instructional improvement. g2at2 2. Our second solution increases the quality of informal or Family, Friends, and Neighbor (FFN) care for children ages 0-5, with a focus of having more children functioning at age-appropriate levels by age 3. The model is designed to strengthen the caregiver’s ability to build kinder-readiness skills in children who participate in informal care settings. The FFN model increases access and points of entry through technology, expansion of traditional Play and Learn programs, and Parent Café Centers.   During this reporting period, a partnership with Family Service Association was established. Three sites were confirmed for the Parent Café style sessions for the FFN caregivers and the FFN Recruitment staff and Parent Room Liaisons were trained on the process for enrolling families. The recruitment plan was planned and the recruitment process began with home visits. The FFN sessions will begin in July. All families and caregivers enrolling in the program will be provided access to Ready Rosie, an on-line mobile app to assist parents and caregivers in teaching pre-literacy and math skills in a home setting. Staff responsible for FFN recruitment were also provided Ready Rosie training. Caregivers and parents will receive Ready Rosie at their first FFN session in July. While 85 EPN families have been enrolled in Ready Rosie [see GPRA 12], no caregivers or parents associated with FFN care were yet enrolled. A full report of this solution will be included in the 2015 AdHoc.

  1. Our third solution is to increase enrollment in formal and informal settings. Beginning with the fall semester 2014, a Parent Facilitator began providing support to parents of Pre-K and Kindergarten children. The Parent Facilitator, a Family Service Association employee assigned specifically to EPN, provides a wide range of support and resources for families of early childhood-aged children in both formal and informal early childhood settings. EPN’s cradle to career pipeline stems from its “Parent Room” foundation and the feedback over the years from the peer-to-peer networking of parents. EPN’s partnership with Family Service Association continues to build on this promising practice that a parent helping other parents makes the difference. The Parent Facilitator, a parent herself from the EPN neighborhood, provides support and resources to families and is able to share these resources as a trusted neighborhood advocate, which in EPN is worth more than a pricy media campaign. Therefore, the Parent Facilitator is asked to attend and visit with parents at events such as: Three “Coffee with the Principals” (14 students); End of Month Celebrations (211 students);  a petting zoo (97 students); a Health and Wellness event (44 students); Financial Literacy group classes (3 students); a literacy bash (67 students); a Family Friday Alphabet Bingo (31 students); food bag distributions (20 students); Kinder Ready Sessions (28 students); meetings about out of school programs and summer reading programs (179 students). During the reporting period, this solution impacted a total of 694


GPRA 2B: Number and percent of children in kindergarten who demonstrate at the beginning of the program or school year age-appropriate functioning across multiple domains of early learning.     g2bt1    About our targets* In 2010-2011, 31% of the EPN Kindergarten students entered school Kindergarten ready, based on SAISD assessment data. The community-based target setting process for early childhood held to the belief that in order to increase the outcome of this measure it would be essential to increase the standard. For that reason, the committee determined that the Early Development Instrument (EDI), which measures five developmental domains and provides a range from vulnerable to an on-track level, would be the preferred data source for this GPRA going forward. The EDI provides a population-level measure of school readiness in the following five developmental domains: Physical Health and Well-being, Social Competence, Emotional Maturity, Language and Cognitive Skills, Communication Skills and General Knowledge. In 2012-2013 the three elementary schools increased Very Ready percentages over the previous year to a range of 26% as lowest gain to 52% as highest gain based on individual campus reports. EDI reporting changed in 2013-2014 to show the children “on track” and developmentally vulnerable. In prior years, the EDI had only reported the children in the top 25%, in other words those children who were assessed as “very ready” and the children in the bottom 10% as “vulnerable” (10th percentile). Moving forward the national study will be assessing the children “on track” (any child over 25% on all domains) and “not on track” (any children who fall below 25%); it is the group of children “not on track” that are deemed not ready for Kindergarten. On Track data for the 2014-15 school year will be available for the Ad Hoc report and will allow a report over a two year period. EPN, in keeping with the commitment to continue to internally monitor the highest percentile ready for kindergarten, will continue to monitor the progress based on the top 25% or “Very Ready”. That recalibrated report is found in Table A. For comparative purposes, we will also document the data based on the revised reporting format of the “On Track” report provided through EDI national reporting system (see table B below). The On Track report provides campus, district, state, and national data for comparative purposes. The dual monitoring of the top 25% in addition to the comparative On Track report will provide information useful for internal evaluation of instructional practices for program improvement. EPN is investigating whether to align its future reporting starting in the AdHoc with the nationally standardized On-Track measurement. g2bt2 g2bt3 The results depicted in both tables above indicate that the solutions and activities implemented during the 2013-14 school year had positive impact on the students most in need (Table A: 14.2% in 2013 down to 11.5% in 2014; and Table B: 14.4% in 2013 down to 11.5% in 2014.)The number of children demonstrating kindergarten readiness, the proportion of students in the highest category of “Very Ready” (Table A) declined 6% but the proportion of students in the revised “on track” (and ready for kindergarten) category experienced a slight increase (Table B). EPN has reviewed each domain by campus to determine areas of need that are common on all three campuses. Two campuses showed a slight increase while one campus had a significant decrease from 51.7% to 25%. We believe two main factors had impact on that campus. (1) The campus moved from one instructional reform model, Success for All, to a new model impacting literacy only, Balanced Literacy. According to campus administration, the shift was difficult for staff to implement quickly and effectively. (2) One Kindergarten teacher was on medical leave from October through February. During that time the classroom had three different substitute teachers.   The multiple transitions likely had a limiting impact on the knowledge base of the assessor, which is actually the kindergarten teacher. The corrective plan to increase both the On Track and the Very Ready students, while continuing to decrease the Vulnerable category, includes:

  • EPN will meet with SAISD curriculum and instructional staff to further analyze the results and determine a plan of action to address the domains demonstrating the greatest percentage or range of decrease.
  • EPN will collaborate with SAISD to communicate the high need areas to instructional staff from PK-4, Head Start-4 through Kindergarten for a scaffolding solution to address each area.
  • EPN supports each campus with an Instructional Support Team which includes a reading teacher, Peer Assistant Teacher, and Instructional Dean. Those positions will be required to devote additional time to the PK-Kindergarten classrooms to assure the instructional program is appropriately addressing the identified need areas.

2015 Solutions to Impact Targets

  1. Increase Formal Early Educational Experiences for Kindergarten students

Enrollment in Formal Early Education Experiences for Kindergarten students: In terms of Kinder readiness, extensive efforts to increase the number of 0-4 year olds attending formal early education are underway [see GPRA 2A and 3A] and are expected to improve kinder readiness over the next several years.  

  1. Strengthen the Instructional Program for the Five Year Old Population: Our next solution includes a primary focus on the SAISD STEM Strategic Plan [see GPRA 4]. This plan provides for an evidence-based, STEM-focused phased rollout for all EPN schools in preparing students for the STEM program at Sam Houston High School. All 372 EPN Pre-K and Head Start students benefit from SAISD’s STEM Strategic Plan, as all six EPN partner campuses currently have an Instruction Support Team including a Reading teacher, a Peer Assistant Teacher, and an Instructional Dean assisting students and teachers.
  • Instructional Dean (ID) – [Began SY 14-15] This position assisted with classroom observations for instructional improvement, provided coaching to teachers, and modeled best practices for classroom instruction. Each Pre-K, Head Start and Kindergarten teacher received two classroom observations from the Instructional Dean with an extended individualized coaching session following each observation. Coaching sessions focus on strengths as well as areas in need of improvement.   Strategies for improvement were co-developed by the Dean and teacher during the coaching session.   Instructors were further supported by weekly walkthroughs and supplemental video modules that focused on best instructional practices in the areas identified by each teacher in their respective coaching session. A total of 60 coaching sessions were completed impacting thirty teachers to improve instructional practices and kinder level comprehension.
  • Peer Assistant Teacher (PAT) – [Began 13-14] These positions provided daily walk through observations and feedback to Kindergarten teachers twice per week to support the more extended observations conducted by the IDs. Each walk through also included coaching time with a debrief session. EC and Kinder teachers received a cumulative number of 2,400 coaching touchpoints from the PATS this reporting period that included recommendations relative to questioning strategies, comprehension strategies, vocabulary development, small group strategies, problem solving skills and behavior management techniques. The PATs also:
  • Provided In-class small group support to students most at risk.
  • Modeled best practices for teachers based on needs identified by walk through  observations.
  • Led the instructional team in implementing the Texas Literacy Initiative, a state grant complementary literacy initiative.
  • Assisted teachers in need of improvement
  • Analyzed middle and end of year data for instructional improvement
  • Distributed summer reading packets
  • Provided individualized and small group reading support
  • Developed professional development sessions on campus relative to vocabulary development
  • Assisted in Ready Rosie enrollment of 85 parents in program.
  • Reading Teacher – [Began 12-13] Due to the number of students not reading on grade level, Reading Teachers provided small group support to students demonstrating skills below developmental level or mastery, modeled best practices for instruction and language development for teachers, and coached teachers to integrate social/emotional domains and conflict resolution into literacy instruction. The Reading Teacher provided daily instruction to six groups of three to four struggling students per day on a rotating basis. When students achieved the level of mastery desired, that student continued to receive in class support from the PAT. Additional duties performed by the reading teacher to support student growth included:
  • Serving on the Texas Literacy Initiative campus team
  • Providing take home literacy packs for students
  • Organizing literacy based campus wide events – literacy fairs, literacy nights
  • Distributed summer reading packs to all PK and Kinder students
  • Peer taught or model taught reading strategies in the classroom
  • Provided professional development sessions campus wide and during instructional team times


  1. Parents or Caregivers as First Teachers: Our next solution includes working with efforts that value and nurture parents/caregivers as first teachers. The parents or caregivers as first teachers solution includes: Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN), Parent Promise Academy components of Parent Talk, Kinder Champs, and the Parent Room Family School Community Partnership.
  • FFN: See GPRA 2A for a full description and update of the status of the FFN Network. Following final completion of the contract for services in June, Family Service Association completed recruitment planning and finalization of recruitment sites for implementation in July. A full recruitment team has been trained on enrollment process and Ready Rosie Enrollment. FFN sessions will begin in July and both caregivers and parents will receive a Ready Rosie app as a home resource to assist the children upon enrollment.
  • Parent Promise Academy: The parental support of the school pipeline that provides parents transitional support for their young children entering into formal childcare settings. The strategy begins at birth with HIPPY and Parent Talk. Kinder Camp (see next section) provides further transitional support for parents of children moving into Kindergarten.
  • HIPPY/Parent Talk: HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parent of Preschool Youngsters) is an evidence-based, 30-week program that works with parents of children 3-5 years of age, in the home setting to support them in their role as the child’s first teacher. This program served 37 families during this reporting period. Parent Talk is a group-based parenting and life skills education program for parents and caregivers of children 0-17; it is available on the three EPN elementary campuses as a support system for parents and served 119 parents during the reporting period. Parent Talk utilizes the evidence-based Nurturing Parenting curriculum and incorporates the Six Protective Factors. Following the full implementation of FFN sessions in July, FFN caregivers and parents will be encouraged to join Parent Talk as an additional resource support.  To date 156 EPN families have been involved with HIPPY and Parent Talk programs.
  • Kinder Champs is the parent support program that accompanies the Kinder Camp. The program provides information to Kindergarten-entry parents to assist parents in the transition from Pre-Kinder to Kindergarten. Traditionally, parents participate in two workshops and receive extended activities they can work on at home. The activities focus on providing knowledge about developmental milestones for five year olds and strategies to assist the learning of their child through the kindergarten year. SAISD is assuming full leadership of both Kinder Camp and Kinder Champs this year as a part of the sustainability plan for the kindergarten transition program. EPN will provide technical support and provide consumable resources only. Data from this year’s camp will not be available until August and will be included in the Ad Hoc report.

The Early Childhood Committee utilized the RBA approach from March through June, 2015 to identify priorities for the remainder of the grant that were sustainable for continuation of the work beyond Promise Neighborhood funding. As a result of those sessions, the primary focus determined by the community-based committee is Family Engagement. To support sustainability, the focus is on assisting campuses in creating welcoming environments. In June, the committee completed a Family Engagement Action Plan which included: (1) meeting with campus administration in August to request input from the Campus Leadership Team for identification of strengths and needs per campus relative to a welcoming environment. (2) Assist with the Assistance Works initiative on each campus to increase family support for a 95% attendance rate. Full implementation will begin with the beginning of the new school year and a progress report will be included in the Ad Hoc report.

  • Parent Facilitator – Eastside Promise Neighborhood holds strongly to the conviction that student success in the early years depends on the role the parent assumes as the child’s first teacher.   EPN values the parents’ skills and knowledge and continually seeks avenues to support and enhance those skills for each parent. We place the highest worth on the unified efforts of the EPN initiative in tandem with the parent as we walk the child toward kindergarten readiness together. The role of the Parent Facilitator supports that value in assisting in the transition from the early childhood to the Kindergarten setting. The Facilitator’s role in the transition lies primarily in communicating the importance of reading to young children, requirements for kindergarten entry, opportunities on campus for parent involvement, and connecting parents with the Parent Room on campus to facilitate a smooth integration of the family into the campus setting.

The Facilitator also plays a lead role in the Ready Rosie initiative and supervised the enrollment of 85 families all of whom were transitioning from Pre-K or Head Start into Kindergarten, into the program. Ready Rosie is a mobile app modeling strategies parents can use in the home to support literacy and math skill development for early childhood aged children. The convenience of access to the app by the parent increases the parent’s skills as the child’s first teacher. The app is provided free of charge through EPN. A smooth transition to Kindergarten is critical to the success of this GPRA. An Early Childhood Connector Corner has been established on one elementary campus by the Facilitator to assist parents transitioning into the larger elementary setting with information on campus activities, volunteering opportunities, and additional resources available for families. The Facilitator assists families with referrals to additional resources as needed. Additional Connector Corners will be established on the remaining two elementary campuses with the new school year 2015-16. Families of children transitioning from the three early childhood centers to Kindergarten are supported by the Facilitator during that process by providing enrollment information and introducing families to the Parent Room on each elementary campus. The Parent Facilitator impacted 156 parents (duplicated) this reporting period to facilitate that transition. Specific activities of the Parent Facilitator are found in GPRA 2A.   g2bt5

  1. Kinder Camp: A solution focused toward increasing age-appropriate functioning is Kinder Camp, a “boot camp” for children entering Kindergarten that aims to 1) close summer learning gaps in oral language, social skills, literacy, or math and 2) acquaint child and family with Kinder procedures and routines. EPN has managed the Camp for two years using SAISD staff, developing a transition curriculum, and building a library of support materials. As of this year, The Kinder Camp has been transferred to the school district and EPN will provide only technical assistance. The transfer is a part of the Early Childhood Sustainability Plan mentioned previously.   The Camp will operate as a program of the Full Service Community School and is scheduled to begin in July. A full report will be included in the 2015 AdHoc.

 g2bt6   *No data to report because this is a summer program. Data will be available for the Ad Hoc. Notation about our data: * A change has been made compared to the 2014 AdHoc submission: The 2014 AdHoc featured an incorrect target range of 30-35% for the school year of 2013-2014. This has been corrected and the school year 2013-2014 now features the target range originating from our data plan of 35-45%.

GPRA 3A: Number and percent of children from birth to kindergarten participating in center-based and formal home-based early learning settings or programs. g3at1   About our targets* Results from the 2015 Neighborhood Survey show that 342 out of 1,889 children in EPN ages 0 to 5 are enrolled in a formal center-based and simultaneously a home-based early learning setting. This represents 18.1% of the 0 to 5 child population, but may inaccurately represent our community’s child care habits since most of our families use either a formal center or a formal home-based care provider, not both simultaneously. Further, the Neighborhood Survey illustrates that when looking only at one of the two types of formal care, as suggested in the previous sentence to more accurately reflect our neighborhood, 52.6% (993 children out of 1,889) are in center-based care and 28.4% (537 children out of 1,889) aged 0 to 5 years are in home-based care. The EPN community holds to a firm belief that informal childcare is valued and should be nurtured, just as the formal childcare solutions in our footprint. The EPN community chose to establish a “formal care” target that reflects a gradual uptake in formal childcare settings, while also holding a steady target for our informal or Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) care target. Note to the reader: GPRA 3A will detail our work on formal care and 3B will detail our work on informal care. Solutions for 2015 target – Formal Based Care We have identified three solutions to support enrollment in formal based care: (1) increasing the enrollment in formal care centers, (2) strengthening instruction and program quality at EPN child care sites, and (3) outreach to residents concerning the importance of early learning. The three primary formal child care centers we work with include: Ella Austin Child Development Center, Healey Murphy Child Development Center, and Miller Child Care Development Center.

  1. EPN’s first solution is to increase enrollment at formal care centers. This includes early childhood centers, Pre-K, Head Start, and Kindergarten Enrollment. Current enrollment for ages 3-5 in Pre-K and Head Start stands at 372. Kindergarten enrollment adds 210 The early childhood centers in the community add an enrollment of 187 for a total of 769 children ages 0-5 in formal childcare settings. Of the 187 children enrolled in the early childhood centers, 112 of those children are participants in the Dual Generation program. The Dual Generation program, a partnership between United Way and the Annie E. Casey Foundation [see GPRA 11], provides childcare for parents who are engaged in workforce training. The Dual Gen effort is founded on the belief that for parents to be able to pursue opportunities to improve their workforce credentials, they need to have access to quality affordable care; therefore formal quality child care is critical to the success of this effort. Due to the strategic guidance, preparation and consultation services provided by the EPN Operations Director and the EPN Early Childhood Consultant, the City of San Antonio selected the 3 child care centers in the footprint as Early Head Start (EHS) sites beginning August, 2015.

The EHS program is unique in that it is built around a Dual Generation approach rather than the national standard Head Start approach. Therefore, the program supports the early childhood efforts of EPN and is a collaborative effort between EPN, the City of San Antonio Head Start, and Bexar County Child Care Subsidy Program. [See GPRA 2A and 2B for more detail on EHS partnerships]. This collaboration of partners is the cornerstone piece of sustainability for the early childhood work of EPN. The layering of the partnerships was constructed purposefully to assure the sustainability of support for the families connected to Early Childhood care beyond the Promise Neighborhood grant. EPN is closely monitoring the integration of the EHS wrap around services to families to ensure they support and compliment the Dual Generation work plan. The 3 centers have committed to serving a total of 168 children ages 0-3 for EHS, beginning in August. During the reporting period, the following activities were conducted toward this effort that will increase the number of children in formal childcare:

  • Identification of number of slots available per center by center directors
  • Completion of space allocation assessment and furniture needs assessment
  • Training and orientation of site directors
  • Three day staff training for compliance, regulations, and program quality
  • Two general population registration events
  • Identification of current students who qualify for EHS programming

Further, EPN assisted SAISD with Kindergarten Roundup and Pre-K/Head Start Enrollment in May. The Family Service Parent Facilitator served as a guide for families through the registration and enrollment process. One hundred and sixty families were assisted during the registration process. The number of students actually enrolling in Kindergarten and Pre-K/Head Start will be available for the 2015 AdHoc. g3at2

  1. EPN’s next solution strengthens curriculum and instruction quality at EPN child care sites. This solution addresses both the quality of care and sustainability of the neighborhood centers. EPN anticipates that as childcare centers in the footprint are staffed by certified providers and achieve Texas Rising Star accreditation, operations will become more effective and attractive to families. This increase in quality carries a direct impact on all 187 children enrolled in the centers. During this reporting period, each center has completed the Health and Hygiene Assessment and Readiness Assessment required by the Rising Star program. All centers have developed an action plan to reach the star rating level indicated by the Health and Hygiene Assessment and the Self Study Readiness Assessment. All directors have begun regular classroom observations utilizing the Rising Star Accreditation observation tool and provide input to childcare workers following the observation. A Quality Assurance (QA) Program has been fully implemented during this reporting period to guide the accreditation process.

Activities incorporated into the QA process that supported the centers during this period included monthly Center Director meetings which began in May with all directors participating; and two professional development training sessions for all center staff at two of the centers. Training topics included appropriate adult/child interactions, using the Texas Rising Star Accreditation checklist to set up a classroom room and playground for best instructional practice, and using a portfolio to assist instruction, and the educator’s code of ethics. Twenty- six staff members from two of the centers (Healy Murphy and Ella Austin) took part in the training.   The training for staff at the third center, Miller Child Development, will be held in August. Subsequent classroom observations by EPN staff give evidence of improved adult/child interactions, classrooms have been rearranged and playgrounds cleaned, additional materials have been added to each classroom, and directors are using the portfolios as a guide to coaching the teachers. Additionally, Pre-K4SA, a city wide local tax supported initiative to provide a comprehensive high quality early childhood education to all four year old children, conducted two classroom observations per center in June. Information from those observations will be used to develop additional onsite professional development opportunities led by PK4SA Instructional Coaches, which will take place during the next reporting period. Again, EPN feels strongly that increasing the quality of the childcare centers will attract more families and students to these centers. The centers currently face two challenges. The first is a shortage in staffing, which often causes the Directors to have to assist in classrooms. During the reporting period, the three childcare centers currently involved in the program are at enrollment capacity. As a result, staff is recommending expansion to other centers and will begin reaching out to those within a 1.5 mile radius to identify additional slots. This will provide parents with additional options that are in close proximity to the footprint. Simultaneously, an accelerated Child Development Associate (CDA) and Certificate program has been implemented to address the immediate hiring needs of the current 3 centers [see GPRA 2A for importance of CDA certifications]. To accomplish this quality improvement, EPN provided full tuition and books for 8 students in the Spring Semester and 1 student in the summer session to pursue an Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education through St. Philips College. All are employees of the three centers.   To strengthen the well-prepared workforce pool for early childhood learning, twelve EPN residents are also participating in classes to obtain a Child Development Certificate for Infant/Toddler and Preschool. EPN covers the cost of the classes as well as the cost of the certification testing. The twelve participants will complete the program in August and be fully certified to serve children in an early childhood setting.   To ensure that the directors can dedicate the time necessary for the accreditation process, EPN is not supplementing staff support through temporary child care ‘angels’, add description here. Alamo Colleges is also currently implementing the Promise Zone to Work [see GPRA 11] initiative with a target of enrolling 300 newly trained Promise Zone residents in high-demand industry trade certifications with employment opportunities immediately thereafter. Three hundred residents attended the information sessions and 145 enrolled in classes.   EPN is working to establish the CDA as one of the certificates to help fill the demand in our current child care centers. We aim to have additional CDA classes begin fall 2015. It is anticipated the graduating CDA class and additional Early Head Start (EHS) funding will help address this challenge, including the potential effort by Promise Zone to Work. The second challenge includes understanding and implementing EHS for 0-3, and Rising Star Accreditation simultaneously, is a daunting task. EPN has adjusted the Rising Star timeline slightly to allow more emphasis on EHS for the August launch. The efforts leading to stronger instructional quality has direct impact on the 187 children currently enrolled in the centers of which 112 are subsidized through the Dual Generation program.   g3at3   3. Our next solution is to conduct outreach to residents about the importance of early learning. The EPN neighborhood often relies on trusted community advocates to message critical information like registrations for formal childcare and reasons why formal childcare could be a a safe and trusted option for parents. Because our community places confidence on word of mouth, we highly support outreach solutions like door-to-door outreach, and one-on-one conversations with parents via parent rooms and/or home visits. This promising practice has illustrated results over time. Therefore, during the reporting period, two trained Public Allies (one of whom is enrolled in the Dual Generation Program [see GPRA 11]) were dispatched into the community to share information and distribute collateral materials; i.e. program descriptions, upcoming event announcements and program recruitment/enrollment information. The Allies are trained in the key elements of the available programs offered by EPN and partner organizations. Methods include “door to door” outreach in the footprint, staffing information booths at commercial and public venues, and providing information to staff and volunteers associated with Parent Rooms. The Parent Rooms utilize this information for distribution during home visits conducted during summer breaks and for Early Childhood registration processes. During the reporting period Public Allies and Parent rooms conducted the following activities:

  • Conversations were conducted with residents about Early Childhood programming along with the distribution of 970 flyers and brochures promoting registration for HIPPY and early childhood orientation sessions and parenting resources.
  • Eighty flyers promoting early childhood orientation sessions were distributed to the Parent Rooms.
  • 60 San Antonio Our Kids magazines emphasizing the importance of reading to young children were distributed at Kids Fest/Healthy Taste of the Eastside in April.
  • 150 early childhood orientation announcements were distributed to individuals receiving fruit and veggie bags

The Parent Facilitator also raises awareness about formal-based care opportunities in the neighborhood. [See GPRA 2 for more information on Parent Facilitator]. The Parent Facilitator engages parents visiting the Parent Room who have unenrolled children aged 0-5 about the importance of early childhood learning and formal programs available in the community. She also assists in the activities supporting formal based enrollment described earlier in this section.   g3at4 *Important note on changes compared to 2014 Ad Hoc report: Calendar year targets from the data plan remain unchanged. However they were attached to the incorrect school year which has been rectified in the table above. The target previously featured for 13-14 was a 12-13 target and was replaced with the correct target range of 30-35%.

GPRA 3B: Number and percent of children from birth to kindergarten participating in informal home-based early learning settings or programs (Family Friend and Neighbor care).   g3bt1 About our targets According to the 2015 Neighborhood Survey, 47.2% of children ages 0-5 (892) receive care from Family, Friends, or Neighbors (FFN) at least 10 hours a week and do not attend any formal center-based care. This is EPN’s local definition and measure for informal childcare in our footprint. The EPN community places high value both culturally and historically on the option of childcare provided in a smaller home setting rather than a formal childcare or developmental learning center setting.   In order for EPN to better analyze the results of the home setting and provide support for those children that would lead to kinder readiness, we elected to monitor a local indicator focused strictly on FFN care. Targets were set by the community and promising practices to support the caregivers were established to guide the work of implementing a support network for FFN caregivers.  It is our assertion that working with caregivers and parents will yield the desired impact on the children within their sphere of influence. Therefore, our solutions related to this GPRA focus on the caregivers of children aged 0-5 in FFN care. The term caregiver through this document references the FFN provider, which could also include parents. Solutions for 2015 Target The primary solution for this target is to strengthen FFN care quality with curriculum and/or instructional support. Due to the high value and trust of informal home care in the EPN community, careful attention and diligence has been given to building the network concept in a way that meets the needs of the caregiver community.   The goal of the FFN program is to equip the caregivers with the tools necessary to prepare the children in their care for kindergarten. The contracted partner identified to implement the support network, Family Service Association, has a long standing history of success in working with families to strengthen the family and the child. A description of FFN is provided in GPRA 2A. During this reporting period, Family Service Association spent time planning for the implementation of a program that will meet the expressed needs of the community, including hiring staff and developing a recruitment plan for FFN caregivers. Four community locations impacting the four primary quadrants of the footprint were secured as meeting sites for the caregivers. A schedule of recruitment activities to attract caregivers was confirmed for each site including block parties, mail outs, reaching out to existing Family Service Association networks, and Parent Room home visits to recruit and conduct outreach for the program. FFN Recruitment Staff were also trained in enrollment procedures and benefits of Ready Rosie. Ready Rosie is a mobile app providing pre-literacy and pre-math vignettes for caregivers to use in the home setting to extend and enrich the learning. Ready Rosie will be provided to each caregiver and parent upon enrollment into the FFN Network. Enrollment activities for the caregiver will begin in July 2015. In addition, the Family Service Association Parent Facilitator’s (referenced in 2A and 3A) role has been expanded to include FFN recruiting of caregivers. Family Service aims to work with 20 caregivers by end of calendar year. The Facilitator established an Early Childhood Connector Corner in the Washington Elementary Parent Room to provide a relaxed atmosphere for parents and to provide early childhood information to families with young children. This is an integral component for recruitment as qualitatively we know most families with children in Pre-K or Kindergarten have a younger sibling in the home that is often in FFN care. Additionally, the Facilitator helps families whose children are leaving FFN care transition into the formal setting of Pre-K or Kindergarten. EPN and Family Service Association intends to replicate the Connector Corner at the other two elementary schools in the EPN footprint in the Fall of 2015. The Parent Facilitator also participated in the Ready Rosie training in order to support the distribution of the app to the FFN Network. The goal is for 100% of the FFN Network Caregivers to be using Ready Rosie. As a secondary goal, 100% of the parents whose children are in FFN care will be given access to the app to reinforce the interactions their child is experiencing with the FFN provider. Due to the cultural and sensitive nature of this GPRA, EPN and Family Service Association have taken time to ensure a supportive and complementary solution is developed for caregivers who will in turn have potential results on kinder readiness. Because of our due diligence on this solution we are continuing to test and learn. Since FFN enrollment begins in July, we will report updates on this learning in the 2015 AdHoc. g3bt2  

P2. Students improve academic performance and are proficient in core subjects

  GPRA 4: Number and percentage of students at or above grade level according to State mathematics and English language arts assessments in at least the grades required.

g4t1   About our targets* The San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) Research and Evaluation Department provided preliminary data for the 2014-2015 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Performance Report. Out of 1,581 students who took the Reading/ELA STAAR in 2015, 880 tested at or above grade level, or 56.6%; an increase from last school year at 54.8%. Out of the 278 students who took the Mathematics STAAR high school level End of Course assessments in 2015, 175 tested at or above grade level, or 61%. This only includes students in 9th-12th grades. Passing rates for grade level assessments 3-8 in Mathematics are not yet available as the STAAR Math content standards for grade levels 3-8 were changed for the school year 2014-2015 by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Scale scores and corresponding passing rates are expected to become available through the TEA in the Fall of 2015 (September projected). Passing rates by campus for 2014-2015 are as follows: g4t2 Note: A two-part strategic planning session was conducted in March 2015 with representatives of the OST and College and Career Committees to discuss solutions, challenges, and potential improvements for both sections of the school-to-career pipeline. At the second session, committee members agreed to combine into one committee focused on all educational initiatives. The combined Education Committee has started to discuss solution improvements and available resources/funding to ensure combined efforts and solutions are addressing GPRA targets for 4A and 4B.   Solutions for 2015 target (for both Math and ELA)

  1. Our first solution is to improve the quality of curriculum and instruction within the EPN footprint. There are two components to this effort – A) the SAISD STEM Strategic Plan and B) the additional campus instructional support at all six campuses to assist with the plan’s implementation.

A.) SAISD STEM Strategic Plan: SAISD continues to implement its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Strategic Plan in the six EPN schools. During the reporting period, EPN staff and the SAISD EPN liaison met to determine data collection processes from various SAISD Departments. The SAISD EPN Liaison distributed the established Data Reporting Grid to the EPN 6 principals, EPN staff developed data collection protocols and reporting templates for both the district departments’ staff and the campus principals. The District’s Curriculum and Instruction Department provided an update indicating all of the components of the STEM Strategic Plan have been implemented with the exception of the STEM Teacher Summer Institute and Habits of Mind professional development that are scheduled for August 5 – 7, 2015. The STEM Strategic Plan included the following highlights for the current reporting period:

  • The 2014-2015 implementation included the deployment of five core content Instructional Coaches to launch elementary and middle school engineering units of study and the compacting of grades K-8 curriculum in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. A total of 42 curriculum units were developed with 23 professional development sessions for 92 teachers serving 1,995 (As a note, Pre-K curriculum is developed through the Office of Early Childhood Education.) In addition, instructional coaches provided more than 300 campus visits that included planning, training, classroom walk-thru, content deepening, and lesson modeling. A total of 25 engineering fields were studied with literacy integration, and two STEM-related curriculums that use project-based learning methodology were executed.
  • Curriculum support activities deployed included eight field experiences aligned to the engineering field of study, end-of-year STEM events such as the Science Fair & Expo that drew record crowds, and art instruction at the elementary campuses.
  • Instructional materials deployed and integrated into the curriculum include STEM on Wheels – technology equipment (iPads and digital microscopes) for Pre-K-8th grade campuses; campus libraries – purchased and implemented in balance literacy, small group instruction, and content areas; and instructional materials to support all lesson implementations.
  • A shared server site was established to collect all walk-thru data by Curriculum and Instructional and EPN Coaches to monitor campus support; Edmodo, a collaboration website, was initiated to serve as a course management system during grade level planning to increase teacher collaboration and content deepening and to showcase student engagement and products.
  • Projected plans for Summer 2015 include teachers and administrators participating in the EPN Summer Summit to include a program kickoff, Pre-K Hands-on Learning in Science Instruction, Project-based Learning PreK-8th grade, and Habits of Mind for Pre-K-8th

B.) Additional Campus Instructional Support: EPN continues to partner with SAISD to improve teacher effectiveness by placing Instructional Deans, Peer Assistant Teachers and Reading Teachers at each EPN campus. These additional support staff receive guidance from Instructional Coaches to fully implement the STEM Strategic plan at all six campuses. The District reports that this staff complement impacts each student on campus – either directly through small group instruction [please see GPRA 2B for examples] or whole class modeling, or indirectly through teacher coaching and evaluation. On a monthly basis the instructional support team submits report updates related to addressing how they support the STEM Strategic Plan. Most recently, at the end of the school year, SAISD hosted an End of Year Summit to allow the EPN campus principals and campus instructional support teams to discuss accomplishments, challenges, and recommendations for future implementation of the STEM Strategic Plan.

  • The accomplishments of the Instructional Deans included student STEM networking in the community, increased community involvement, collaborative meetings, and an increase in teacher awareness and effectiveness. An identified challenge was the need for increased reflection time both at the individual campus and feeder pattern levels. Recommendations for next school year include having the Instructional Coaches housed on campus, thus allowing more time for teachers to prepare for STEM lessons; and including a bilingual version of the STEM curriculum.
  • The Peer Assistant Teachers accomplishments included successful implementation of STEM Engineering Fridays, enhanced agency collaboration, and expanded experiential learning opportunities. The lack of STEM curriculum resources for Early Childhood and Pre-K classrooms was a noted challenge. Recommendations for next school year include extending STEM throughout the week, increasing STEM and technology training, and establishing built in time to debrief on project implementation.The Reading Teachers accomplishments included an increase in students reading on grade level and an increase in Lexile scores. Challenges were encountered in balancing whole group and small group instruction. Recommendations for next school year includes funding for substitute teachers during teacher and parent collaboration, a tier 2 class intervention for all students reading below grade level, and additional desktop computers.
  • Overall, the campus principals were most excited about the STEM Showcase, increased scores, and additional staff assisting with teacher evaluation through the Charlotte Danielson model. One recommendation for next school year was to align the STEM lessons across Pre-K through 12th grade, which is the next implementation phase of the STEM plan.

g4t3   Reaching Scale: EPN’s aim of establishing a sustainable plan and strong relationship with San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) was purposeful; to achieve scale and sustainability beyond the Promise Neighborhood Grant. As a result of the success of the SAISD STEM Strategic plan (one of our GPRA solutions), the brain power, and hard work of SAISD, we now see how sustainability of the STEM project will be attained. During the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, SAISD’s Science Department, is launching a STEM initiative across the entire school district to introduce teachers and students to STEM with an emphasis on engineering design and STEM careers. The science curriculum calendar has embedded Engineering Fridays for an estimated 34,000 5th graders, replicating the EPN STEM Project model; and integration of STEM activities for an estimated 21,150 K-4th grade students. Approximately 1,225 elementary teachers will be provided recommended units of study and 200 secondary teachers will be able to choose from a collection of STEM units of study. The District’s leadership and focused implementation of the EPN STEM project has demonstrated the curricular and professional development possibilities that have many benefits in engaging students with vital 21st century skills of critical thinking and problem solving that will lead to academic success and college and career readiness.

  1. Our next solution is to increase access to high quality enrichment activities, delivered through our Out-of-School Time (OST) programs, which are complementary to the SAISD STEM Strategic Plan. OST programs offer high quality enhanced programming for students in the EPN partner schools, community centers and churches. The programs emphasize improved attendance, academic proficiency,  social skills and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related activities.  Out-of-School Time (OST) programs served a total of 595 students during the Spring of 2015.

The Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio implemented the “EPN Full STEAM Ahead to Success” program at Bowden Elementary School and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, targeting Kinder -12th grade students. This program provides homework assistance, enrichment sessions, recreation, and hands-on learning science projects. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas implemented the “EPN Girl Scout Leadership Experience” program at five EPN campuses targeting Kinder – 12th grade students. This program offered girls the opportunity to learn more about leadership, decision making, and STEM related career fields. H.I.S. Bridge Builders implemented the “Literacy, STEAM, and More” program at Liberty View Church of Christ targeting Pre-K – 10th grade students. This program offered homework assistance, art, hands on experiments, and math enrichment. Martinez Street Women’s Center implemented the “Girl Zone” program at three sites, two EPN campuses and one community center, targeting 4th – 9th grade students. This program offered lessons in community engagement, culture, healthy relations, and improved self-confidence. YMCA of Greater San Antonio implemented the “Y Teens Afterschool Program” at Wheatley Middle School targeting 6th – 8th grade students. This program focused on eight core content areas of arts and humanities, character development, health and wellness, homework support, literacy, STEAM, service learning, and conflict resolution. During the reporting period, OST Providers participated in a Community of Practice that included discussion on the importance of collaboration and data collection and analysis for effective programming. This discussion led to future purchase of service criteria for OST including bonus points for evidence of collaboration—a component that was called for by providers. A request for purchase of service proposals was published in early March that encouraged the creation of a model of service coordination through collaboration which will create a service delivery system focused on improved academic performance. In May, the EPN Advisory Council approved recommendations for funding high quality programs for the summer of 2015. Selected providers include Girls Inc., Greater San Antonio After-School All-Stars, and H.I.S. Bridge Builders. We anticipate the providers will serve over 200 students throughout the summer, which again is complementary to existing summer programming in the footprint. The EPN-funded summer programs provide programs focused on academic enrichment, reading age appropriate books, STEM related activities, and engaging field trips.   g4t4   3. EPN embeds City Year AmeriCorps members at Wheatley Middle School and Sam Houston High School to deliver focused intervention on ELA and Math for at-risk students. The personnel complement at Wheatley stayed at the same level as the previous school year, but City Year strengthened its presence at Sam Houston by adding Corps Members to begin serving 10th grade students. The bulk of the support is academic and directly supports this GPRA. The additional deployment came at the request of the Sam Houston principal, who sees the benefits of creating a continuum of support for students from 9th to 10th

  • The partnership at Sam Houston continues to be one of the strongest, with fourteen AmeriCorps Members having an impact on 9th and 10th graders, including 71 in ELA and 69 in Math. Data received from the provider indicates that:
    • Of the 51% of students who reached 15 hours of intervention on the ELA focus list – 83% are on track based on City Year progress measure of passing grades
    • Of the 52% of students on the Math focus list who reached 15 hours of intervention, 83% are on track based on City Year progress measure of passing grades.

Due to the strong partnership and collaborations with staff and on-campus partners, City Year is able to implement its Whole School Whole Child Model to fidelity. For attendance, behavior, and coursework, Corps Members are partnered with eight ELA and Math teachers focused solely on student achievement. Meetings are held on a regular basis to monitor student progress and Corps Members serve as mentors, tutors and role models to encourage student success. Serving as near peer mentors has allowed the Corps Members to build and maintain positive relationships with students throughout the year. City Year also drives the extended learning time at Sam Houston; for example, students attend their after school program on a daily basis for homework help, tutoring, and to participate in various clubs and activities. During this reporting period, several successful events, such as the ELA and Math Night (where Corps Members provided games and activities for students), and VIP Lunches (Corps Members provide lunch and fun activities for students who have shown improvement in ELA and Math) were conducted. For this reporting period, 18 family events were led by Corps members at Sam Houston High School, with 600 participants in attendance.

  • Eight Wheatley Middle School Corps Members are impacting 6th – 8th grade students through ongoing collaboration with teachers focused on student progress and needs. Their portfolio includes 36 students in ELA and 46 in Math. Data received from the provider indicates that:
    • Of the 75% of students on the ELA focus list who reached 15 hours of intervention, 100% are on track based on City Year progress measure of passing grades.
    • Of the 67% of students on the Math focus list who reached 15 hours of intervention, 87% are on track based on City Year progress measure of passing grades.

The after school program has been successful averaging between 20-30 students daily that participate in homework help and clubs. Corp Members have also tutored students during the eight Saturday school sessions leading up to the STAAR exam where students were able to get group and one-on-one tutoring. This year campus events hosted by Corps Members included a “Hollywood STAAR Night” which brought awareness to parents about the STAAR exam. Students also participated in activities focused on math and science and a “Get Caught Reading” initiative focused on encouraging students to read more. For this reporting period, 11 family events were led by Corps Members at Wheatley Middle School, with 200 participants in attendance. EPN will conduct further academic analysis of the proficiency of the providers’ submitted data in comparison to the results from the state assessment within the next quarter. A final analysis will be submitted in the AdHoc.   g4t5 4. Our last solution is to ensure successful student transitions from middle to high school and from high school to college/career. EPN partnered with Family Service Association to staff a Family Advocate to work with the EPN campus parent rooms. The Parent Rooms have established strong parent-to-parent relationships and also significantly increased parental engagement in school culture. The Family Advocate, in collaboration with their colleagues housed in each parent room, plays an active role in promoting academic related events for parents and families to include college focused events (See GPRA 14) at EPN campuses. The Family Advocate also participated in 23 Early Warning Indicator (EWI) meetings during the reporting period referring 42 students to the College and Career Consultant. A few solution improvements for the Family Advocate include utilizing City Year’s end of year focus list to begin interactions with student’s families that are most in need of academic support during the summer months. Additionally, the Family Advocate will provide a summative report of Early Warning Indicator meetings, and educate parents about the expectations of STAAR testing. Conversation and information dissemination regarding STAAR Testing, along with attendance, occurred throughout events conducted during the reporting period. Some of these events included: A STAAR Open House that served (131) students, A March Math Madness event with (45) students that participated, STAAR Taste of Sam Houston that serviced (95) students, two Saturday schools with (137) students that participated. During the reporting period, counselors at Sam Houston High School met with 100% of the incoming freshmen and their families to declare endorsements in accordance with House Bill 5 (see GPRA 7 and 14). g4t6   Notation about our data: *The first correction is to the 2012-2013 baseline numerator, denominator, and percentage calculation for the composite English Language Arts (ELA) indicator (grades 3rd through 8th and once in High School). Out of 1,261 students who took the ELA State of Texas Assessment for Academic Readiness (STAAR) in 2013, 680 tested at or above grade level, or 53.9%; for SY 2013-2014, the composite score increased slightly to 54.8%. The second correction is to the 2012-13 baseline numerator, denominator, and percentage calculation for the composite Math indicator (grades 3rd through 8th and once in High School). Out of 1,237 students who took the Math State of Texas Assessment for Academic Readiness in 2013, 658 tested at or above grade level, or 53.2%; for SY 2013-2014, the composite score increased significantly to 63.6%. It is important to note that these baseline data are estimates based on data available from the district and not yet official calculations (projected availability Fall 2015). It is also important to note that the State of Texas continues to change the passing threshold for STAAR from year to year, and therefore, a performance trend cannot be derived. However, the data does show that even in the face of increasing testing rigor, EPN students are passing the STAAR in greater numbers. Targets from the data plan in the 2014 AdHoc were attached to the correct calendar year but wrong school year. The 2013-2014 targets were re-attached to 2012-2013 and the 2014-2015 targets re-attached to 2013-2014 as reflected in the table above. *Important notation regarding our EPN AdHoc 2014 reported targets – the 2013/2014 targets in both tables have been updated. In the AdHoc the 2013/2014 targets for both English Language Arts and Mathematics mistakenly previously featured the 2012/2013 targets from our data plan. This has been corrected.

GPRA 5: Attendance rates of students in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades as defined by Chronic Absenteeism g5t1   About our targets* Average daily attendance (ADA) is typically used by school districts to measure school attendance and it is required under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. However, researchers have recently identified that chronic absenteeism, or those students who miss 10 percent or more of school days, is a stronger predictor for academic risk and school dropout (Sanchez 2012).   The rates of Chronic Absenteeism by the target population grades are as follows: g5t2 Below are the Attendance Rates for the target population grades for the past two school years: g5t3 As noted in the data above, the middle school demonstrated both a decrease in the rate of chronic absenteeism and an increase in the attendance rate when comparing the last two school years. However, the ninth grade class is not trending in the planned direction in either category, with an increase in chronic absenteeism and a decrease in the attendance rate. Plans to further support the high school population include an attendance focus group and developing a coordinated system of support for chronically absent students, with a focus on those in 9th and 10th grade. EPN will schedule this focus group in the early part of the school year with SAISD administrators and will present all learnings to SAISD for potential solutions. As a member of the Attendance Awareness Coalition, and in partnership with P16 Plus Council of Greater Bexar County, Attendance Works and SA2020, EPN will also develop strategies focused on the following priorities:

  • Create Consistent Messaging
  • Discuss Attendance Strategies with partners and parents
  • Launch National Attendance Awareness Month in September
  • Track Chronic Non-Attendance.

Additionally, in 2014 the City of San Antonio became the centralized court system for juvenile truancy cases for Bexar County. The program serves 16 school districts and charter schools, however SAISD accounts for 47% of the truant cases filed; with the east side of San Antonio representing the majority of cases. Through a partnership with SAISD and the City, a closed elementary school in the Promise Zone will serve as the new location of a Truancy Court annex. Opening in August 2015, the focus of the Annex will be to identify impediments to school attendance and address factors that contribute to truancy charges. Municipal Court Judge John Bull has been quoted as saying, “Having this facility to provide pre-court diversionary programs under court supervision is a win-win for families and the community as a whole.”[1] Solutions for 2015 target Our solutions to improve attendance at the middle and high school levels include City Year near-peer support; parental engagement/support through the middle and high school Parent Rooms, and to pursue a partnership with the new truancy court to establish support groups and community service alternatives in lieu of truancy fines. Out of School Time (OST) programming that builds enthusiasm for improved attendance and the implementation of the SAISD STEM Strategic Plan are other supportive solutions for this GPRA.

  1. City Year’s near peer support focuses on interventions for at-risk students to improve student attendance as demonstrated by an increased average daily attendance. City Year AmeriCorps members provide attendance monitoring, coaching and incentive programs while working closely with students to improve attendance. Special initiatives and communications to parents and guardians occur through quarterly positive phone calls and “Coffee on the Curb” where Corps members provide a breakfast snack for parents and thank them for bringing their children to school [See GPRA 4 for more detail on City Year]. This year 99 students were on the focus list for the attendance indicator; 64 in high school and 35 in middle school. Daily attendance phone calls occurred for every student that was absent, in addition to home visits conducted via a partnership with the EPN parent rooms.   Preliminary data collected from the provider indicates:
  • Of the 86% of High School students on the attendance focus list who achieved 8 weeks of attendance intervention 36% improved Average Daily Attendance by 2 percent or more.
  • Of the 77% of Middle School students on the attendance focus list who achieved 8 weeks of attendance intervention 11% improved Average Daily Attendance by 2 percent or more.

  In order to continue to reach our targets of improved attendance rates and a decrease in chronically absent students, program improvements for City Year will include an increased rigor of attendance interventions and a targeted communication to parents of chronically absent students. These improvements will be implemented in the 2015-16 school year.   g5t4

  1. Parent Room representatives, who are mostly parent volunteers, provide support for attendance at the middle and high school campuses with phone calls and conducting home visits. During the visits, they provide parents tools and tips to improve their child’s attendance, strategize on possible behavior issues impacting their child’s learning, andlearn what assistance may be required to help a striving/struggling child with school work (coursework support, test taking skills, etc.). These visits have emerged as the most common strategy used to connect with parents and connect families to schools. During the reporting period, 444 physical home visits were attempted, with 97 being successfully conducted. Additionally, 688 phone calls were attempted with 51 being successful. The parent rooms also hosted two Perfect Attendance Breakfasts, a Coach and Staff Meeting, Home Visit Training, Lunch for Dads, Muffins for Mom, Parent/Family Night and a Fathers in Action event.

The Parent Rooms will continue to impact chronic absenteeism by creating purposeful relationships with families of chronically absent students and having rich discussion around the importance of school attendance in home visits, family challenges that are disrupting school attendance, phone calls and hosted events. Improvements to be considered for the next school year include conducting parent room focus groups to discuss potential strategies to improve attendance and ways to support initiatives that promote attendance like S.A. Kids Attend to Win (Attendance Awareness month) in September. Additionally, EPN will work with Family Service Association and the Truancy Annex referenced above to explore collaborative ways in in which to support parents, including creating parent support groups and/or community service opportunities in lieu of fees. Lastly, replicating the Walking School Bus strategy planned for chronically absent students at Washington Elementary is a potential strategy that will be modified for middle school students who are also deemed chronically absent. Evidence based strategies from the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership include using the Walking School Bus as a means of engaging older youth by creating walking clubs, recruiting “Ambassadors” to walk to school with younger students and helping to plan special events like associated with the WSB at their campus. These solutions would be a direct correlation between absenteeism and safety solutions [See GPRA 10 for more detail on school-based restorative practices and the Walking School Bus].   g5t5

  1. As a part of a pilot project, EPN partnered with Family Service Association for a full time Family Advocate to work with families of students with chronic absenteeism during the last school year. [See GPRA 4, Solution 4 for an overview of the Family Advocate’s role]. This position played an active role in working with the parent rooms to encourage parents to make phone calls and do home visits for students who are chronically absent and to serve as a communication bridge to school personnel in the Early Warning System meetings about family circumstances that may be affecting school attendance. During the reporting period, the Family Advocate attended 23 Early Warning Indicator System meetings at the Middle and High School and made 111 phone calls to parents of chronically absent students. While the position demonstrated programmatic results, the development of a viable option for sustainability of the solution for a systems change effort was not established. As a result, this position will not be continued and will be removed from this suite of solutions.


  1. Out of School Time (OST) programs build enthusiasm for attendance during the regular school day. During the reporting period, 205 Wheatley and Sam Houston High School students participated in OST programs. The OST Committee provided an attendance incentive for 160 students, of all grades, who were the high attenders of OST programs. The incentive included a trip to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Students had the opportunity to see a real live rodeo, pet animals, attend a live concert, and get on carnival rides. Although the Rodeo occurs annually at a facility adjacent to the EPN footprint, for most students this was their first time experiencing all the Rodeo has to offer. The committee members are currently discussing attendance incentives for summer program participants as well. [For more information on OST programming see GPRA 4]. An in depth analysis of attendance data for OST participants will be provided in the 2015 AdHoc.


  1. SAISD STEM Strategic Plan, further discussed in detail in GPRA 4, offers an innovative approach to curriculum and sustainability of STEM related subjects at both the elementary and middle school level. The plan, impacting 378 6th – 8th grade students, asserts that a compressed four-day core curriculum, with the 5th day incorporating an “Engineering Friday”, incentivizes attendance not only on Fridays but also during core curriculum days. San Antonio ISD provided additional data regarding Friday attendance indicating an increase at the Middle School level of 1.07% as compared to last school year (from 96.96% to 98.03%).

g5t8   *Important data update to 2014 AdHoc: Calendar year targets from the data plan have not changed but were assigned to the wrong school years. The 12-13 targets were mistakenly assigned to school year 13-14 in the AdHoc. This issue had been addressed in the table above and 13-14 features the correct targets. [1]  

P3. Students successfully transition from Elementary to Middle to High School

EPN built the data sharing system Communityviewer for student support teams on EPN campuses and general public use

  • A powerful tool for schools, student support teams, and partner organizations, the EPN data sharing system Communityviewer links school and community real-time data to help assess student progress and the impact of community interventions. Communityviewer goes live in February 2013. SAISD added student performance data to the system in December 2012 and other organizations will phase-in during 2013 – City Year, Catholic Charities, Literacy Caravan, Family Service Association, etc. Two versions of Communityviewer will be available – a highly secure version for student support teams and a version with de-identified, population level information for general public use.
  • 1,126 parents from all six EPN schools were visited by another parent this year to better understand family needs and identify appropriate resources or services. This program, administered through the Family-School-Community Partnership of United Way and Family Service Associate, plays an integral role in helping parents build sustainable connections with the schools and in developing effective school success strategies.

P4. Students graduate from high school

Story Behind the Data – Promise 4

In 2003, Sam Houston High School was deemed an acceptable school by Texas Education Association (TEA), but in subsequent years academic performance and graduation declined sharply.  Contributing factors to a four year graduation rate of 45.9% include: • The implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) • The change of Texas\’ standardized test from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) to Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) • A need for stronger alignment with the District’s Central Office • Academic transitions across the city, including an uptick of K-8 academies and an increase in the number of magnet schools • Davis Middle School (Sam’s primary feeder school) became a dual-language campus, thus shifting students who would have normally attended Sam to another high school within the District that also focused on dual-language learning Contributing factors to students not graduating high school within four years include: • SAISD is a school choice district, meaning parents have the option to place their children in other SAISD high schools • High mobility rate (with the lack of availability of quality housing) • Academic performance (poor attendance, low grades, failing exit-level assessment) • Employment (pursuing jobs to support families and self) • Family (marriage or pregnancy) • Alternative education • Discipline (failure to return following expulsion or placement in the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program) • Behavioral health issues 2013-2014 Projection Analysis: The EPN annual target is based on the percentage of the senior student population for any given year. The 84.4% graduation rate reported by the District for Sam Houston HS during 2011-12 was for 151 out of 179 students. Because the senior student population decreased to 140 students for 2012-2013, EPN’s proposed 2.3% increase to 87% amounts to a projected 122 students. Based on this year’s current student population, the 2013-2014 senior class is projected to be at 170 students, so the 2% increase to 89% should result in 151 students graduating on time. EPN strategies are focused on ensuring 29 more students graduate during the 2013-2014 school year.

Current Partners – Promise 4

Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio (Out of School Time tutoring   and robotics program) Frost Bank (student   financial literacy)
Carver Cultural Center (cultural arts programs) Giving Americans   Motivation for Everyday Recreation (GAMER) (non-profit that fund field   trips/incentives for perfect attendance)
Catholic Charities (Parent Talk parenting classes) New Tech Network   (Magnet school programming)
City of San Antonio St. Philips College   (Eastside\’s higher education institution, dual credit program)
City Year (Near-peer support in attendance/behavior/coursework) SA2020 (community   vision)
Communities in Schools (case management) San Antonio Housing   Authority (Choice Neighborhood Initiative)
Community (parent and resident engagement) San Antonio   Independent School District
EPN (CommunityViewer) San Antonio Museum of   Art
Family Service Association (Parent rooms and the Youth Against   Gang Activity [YAGA] program) United Way (Convener   and funder, provides Financial Empowerment Center\’s free financial   counseling)
Friends of Sam Houston   (higher education scholarships) University of Texas at   San Antonio (Institution of higher education/Pen Pal program)

What Works – Promise 4

The following is a snapshot of what works/worked to improve graduation rates from 45.9% in 07/08 to 84.4% in 11/12.

            • Leadership change (District Administration and School Principal)
            • The creation/addition of the New Tech (NT) program, a technology magnet school within the high school that pulls students from across the District  (NT attracts 250 high-performing students from across SAISD and has helped to raise the overall performance level of the school)
            • City Year\’s interventions with at-risk students targeted to improve attendance, behavior and coursework
            • The parent-to-parent engagement taking place in the Parent Room
            • Synergy created by Eastside Promise Neighborhood, SA 2020 & the Eastside Reinvestment Summit
            • Sustained public will to improve school performance
            • Communities in Schools

Sam Houston has been on a sustained trajectory of improving completion rates from  59.1% for the 2007-08 school year to 70.7% for the 2010-11 school year. Factors contributing to the increase include:

            • Parental and community member pressure on the school to perform better, especially when Sam Houston was considered for closure in 2007 and 2008. The SAISD School Board worked with Sam Houston to align its goals and objectives with the District’s Central Office expectations.
            • A new Assistant Superintendent was hired by the District to specifically address completion rates.

Sam Houston added the New Tech program in 2011 through a two-year SAISD partnership with the New Technology Network.

Strategies – Promise 4

1. Sam Houston HS Student Support Team, with leadership from EPN, utilizes real-time data on student performance from Early Warning Indicator System Communityviewer to more effectively implement interventions for Seniors.

            • City Year (currently only focuses interventions on 9th grade students) – RBL recommendation: explore the possibility with CY to deliver interventions to other grades, particularly 12th since they’re the ones at-risk of not graduating.

2. Provide Out of School Time activities for students to support their on-time four year completion.

            • Through 2012-2013 Purchase of Service contract, implement Boys and Girls Club program with Sam Houston students, which provides STEAM programming including tutoring and robotics. Twenty participants meet Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM at the school campus. The program will continue serving Sam Houston HS students in school year 2013-2014.
            • Reduce summer learning loss for Juniors about to be Seniors by funding the Teen Tech Center @ Neighborhood Place Edgewood to serve 25 Sam Houston HS students. Program will run from June 10 to August 8, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 to 3:30 PM. The program will provide hands-on activities on computer programming. Five youth will be selected as leaders for this program and provided a stipend internship.

3. Partner with EPN businesses and the arts community to provide apprenticeships, internships; STEAM competitions and mentoring opportunities for middle and high school students.

            • Implement summer internship with proposed target of 50 students. Details are currently formulated but it will run for 6 weeks beginning in July and target students from AVID, a college readiness program that will start at Sam Houston in the Fall.

4. Build a culture of aspiration for postsecondary education or workforce opportunities beyond high school with students, families, and community.

            • Expand partnership with local colleges and universities to encourage more on-campus college recruitment of EPN students (presentations, career exploration, and dual credit courses).
            • Launch Café College at Sam Houston High School. The renovation of a campus room to serve as the Café College site begins in June and is projected to launch in August.
            • Import the City’s Café College resources, including FAFSA and TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid, a tool for students who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA because of citizenship status) assistance, test prep classes, and scholarship information to the Eastside Community Centers to help EPN youth set and achieve postsecondary education goals.
            • Place FAFSA/TASFA-enabled computers in all EPN school libraries and Parent Rooms to assist parents in applying for financial aid for their postsecondary education-bound children.
            • Ensure Sam Houston HS seniors and their families’ access the resources of the San Antonio Education Partnership for scholarships and related assistance.
            • Connect Sam Houston HS parents to the Family-School-Community Partnership providing college preparatory and career planning resources.

5. Instill in middle school students the belief that they will finish high school and can compete for postsecondary education opportunities, including college or trade certification.

            • Create or strengthen a “What It Takes to Finish High School” counseling program at Wheatley MS
            • Ensure that Wheatley MS students preparing to attend Sam Houston participate in the “What It Takes to Finish High School” counseling program
            • Equip Career Readiness Lab at Wheatley MS to supply career exploration opportunities and world of work information and stimulate college and career goals.
            • Ensure Wheatley MS students benefit from remaining in-school GEAR UP resources and services. Beginning in August 2013, EPN will begin following up with students to ensure GEAR UP resources and services are being accessed. (GEAR UP is an ED-funded college readiness program that starts with a 7th grade cohort and follows them through high school graduation and into college. SAISD’s current GEAR UP grant was awarded for the Class of 2012 and assisted students in both Wheatley Middle School and Sam Houston HS. Curriculum materials, instructional methods and products that were provided or purchased for the original Wheatley cohort are still in place and available.)

6. Ensure that Wheatley Middle School students and their families make the decision to attend Sam Houston high school instead of other options available to them within the District or beyond.

            • At the beginning of August, coordinate on Back to School events with Antioch, Dream Center, HIS Bridge Builders, etc.
            • Strengthen parent to parent engagement by more effectively messaging to parents the positive aspects of Sam Houston HS
            • Initiate public relations/marketing campaign highlighting the positive aspects of Sam Houston HS (proposed)
            • Every month of the school year, bring Sam Houston students to speak with Wheatley MS students and showcase the good things happening at the high school. (proposed)

7. Reduce attendance barrier for teen parents by providing subsidized child care

            • Pending approval from the Promise/Choice Advisory Council, the subsidized child care slots for teen parents will begin in August for SY 2013-2014. In March, Advisory Council approved the applicant eligibility requirements. In June, the Advisory Council will vote to ratify a series of recommendations developed by the Early Education Committee, which include details on the subsidized child care for teen parents. Those details pertain to the Quality Improvement Plan that will be included in all purchase of service agreements entered between EPN and participating child care centers. EPN is preparing to launch the childcare subsidy program in July.

P5. Students earn a college degree or a job training certification

Created opportunities that assist students to enter postsecondary education EPN partnered with San Antonio Housing Authority on a pilot program for young adults to earn their GED and a trade certification. 26 Eastside youth participated in the first cohort of the program, which is the result of collaboration between SAHA, St. Phillip’s College, and George Gervin’s Youthbuild program. In addition, EPN provided financial education for all twenty-six participants, providing them with knowledge and skills to make sound financial decisions. This pilot effort is the focus of an expansion through the Family-Centered Community Change initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

P6. Students are healthy and their educational performance improves by accessing aligned learning and enrichment activities

Promoted learning about health and nutrition and enhanced availability of STEAM resources in the EPN school Health and Fitness

      • 229 adults and 613 children from the Eastside learned about the importance of nutrition and a healthy diet through the Little Bites, Big Steps program implemented by EPN partner KLRN.
      • Two community gardens were established in the footprint Nearly 100 SAISD students have learned about healthy vegetables.
      • Two education-themed playscapes were built at Ella Austin Community Center and Washington ES with the support of EPN and its partners, providing a safe space for hundreds of neighborhood youth to play every year.

  Aligned Enrichment Activities

    • Twenty-nine youth from the neighborhood participated in STEAM Out-of-school-time activities during the summer in two college prep programs and a dance and theater camp.
    • EPN sponsored cultural events and opportunities that engaged youth with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). EPN collaborated with the Witte Museum to host Science Day in the Park, which drew 100 Bowden ES students to learn about the natural sciences, and also sponsored an artist-in-residence at Sam Houston HS who taught a workshop to 35 students with poetry and spoken word.
    • Six high school students participated in the inaugural STEAM internship program and were placed with a credit union, a manufacturing company, a graphic design firm, a children’s pediatric clinic, and with Eastside Promise Neighborhood.

P7. Students feel safe at school and in their community

Piloted an anti-crime sports league and laid the foundation for safer streets

  • 150 youth had a safe place to play during EPN’s summer-long Midnight Basketball program, a pilot effort conducted in partnership with SAPD, YMCA, Generations Federal Credit Union, and the San Antonio Spurs. Crime in the neighborhood decreased during the run of the program, likely due to increased police visibility in the area.
  • Both EPN and the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) were awarded Public Safety Enhancement grants from the US Department of Justice in December 2012 to implement public safety enhancements in the neighborhood. EPN will increase the police presence in neighborhood hot spots to establish safe corridors for children who walk to and from schools. SAHA will focus on improving the lighting in the Wheatley neighborhood and developing a shared crime data system.
  • Realizing that neighbors supporting neighbors is key in building a safe community, EPN supported National Night Out events with the Harvard Place/Eastlawn and Dignowity Hill neighborhood associations and the “Pride of the Eastside” block party at Sam Houston high school.

P8. Students live in stable communities

Leveraged resources of EPN, United Way, and partners to bring $38.5 million in additional investments to the Eastside

  • Partnered with SAHA to win the $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant to revitalize the Wheatley Courts neighborhood. The plan will transform the neighborhood by redeveloping the Wheatley Courts into a mixed income housing community, building on lots that are currently vacant, and providing workforce development opportunities for neighborhood residents. EPN is the lead partner and is working with SAISD on the education commitments in the Choice neighborhood grant.
  • Successfully competed for $7 million grant to fund a dual generation workforce strategy. EPN will begin with a small planning grant to create a workforce pipeline for EPN residents that links adult education, the completion of college or a trade certification program, job placement, and financial education through one-on-one case management. The concept offers an opportunity for the parents/caretakers of the EPN students by offering educational enhancements that parallel the cradle to career pipeline being built for the children.
  • The City of San Antonio, which partners with United Way and Family Service Association, successfully competed for a $1.5 million grant to create Financial Empowerment Centers in San Antonio. United Way is now operating a FEC hub at the Claude Black Center on the east side and satellite locations at Ella Austin, Tynan Early Childhood Center, Wheatley Courts, and Goodwill’s central location. Family Service Association manages the Westside center with 4 satellites in the west and northern sections of the city. The centers empower individuals by utilizing a coaching model to increase financial stability in low-income households by increasing assets, decreasing debt, and boosting incomes, and deepening knowledge of community resources and wrap around supports available to stabilize households.

P9. Families and community members support learning in Promise Neighborhood schools

GPRA 12: Number and percent of parents or family members of children birth to kindergarten who report that they read to their children three or more times a week GPRA 12 Table 1   About our targets As noted in previous reports, EPN’s baseline was based on a proxy for this data point due to the fact that age-specific questions were not asked on the original neighborhood survey. The addition of age-specific questions provided a much clearer picture, beginning with the 2013-2014 neighborhood survey. The data from the 2015 survey indicates that 42% of the surveyed families report reading to their young children consistently which is down 6% from the previous year but still exceeded the target. The uniqueness of this GPRA and its associated solutions include building a neighborhood effort based on a theory of change that reading, singing, and acting out stories will contribute to a more literate student body and community. Below are our suite of solutions that continue to aim at building literacy from an early age. Solutions for 2015 target 1) EPN early education providers, including Tynan Head Start, and Pre-K at Bowden, Pershing and Washington Elementary Schools, promote reading at home through campus-based programs that include a parent and child reading together at home for 20 minutes daily, journaling, and maintaining a reading log. Monthly campus reports provided by the EPN Reading Teacher on each campus indicated 516 Pre-K and Head Start children participated in the campus reading log programs during the reporting period. One campus enhanced the take home program by having the Pre-K and Kindergarten students read to the parents at the monthly Principal Coffee, impacting 35 parents. All Pre-K and Head Start children in the footprint received books to take home for the summer along with Summer Reading Logs for parents (see second bullet below). It is anticipated the Reading Teacher and Peer Assistant Teacher embedded on the campuses by EPN will incorporate a review of the reading logs and program success during a campus parent meeting within the first twenty days of school 2015-16. EPN also directly supported campuses with a number of other literacy activities for families during the reporting period, including:

  • 60 households received information relative to reading with a young child through door-to-door outreach
  • Tynan, Bowden and Washington campuses participate in the Texas Literacy Initiative (TLI) grant and each Pre-K/Head Start student on those three campuses received book backpacks through that initiative. The TLI distribution provided 430 books to students in Pre K and Head Start to Tynan, Bowden, and Washington homes. Pershing does not participate in TLI so EPN supplemented the TLI distribution by distributing 225 Summer Reading Book Backpacks to Pershing Pre-K students. The total book distribution count to all EPN Pre-K and Head Start students was 655.
  • 200 books distributed to Tynan through the READ 3 program of a local grocery chain
  • 240 books were distributed to EPN children through the Scholastic Literacy Caravan
  • Each campus provided one Literacy Fair for families in the Spring semester
  • Ready Rosie, an on-line app for parents modeling positive strategies to increase literacy skills using everyday items, enrolled 85 early childhood families.

Additional support and tracking of the early childhood reading focus comes through the Parent Facilitator provided through the partnership with Family Service Association. The facilitator provides information concerning the importance of reading to young children through the Early Childhood Connection Corner. The Corner is currently implemented at the Washington campus and will be implemented at Bowden and Pershing at the beginning of school year 2015-16. During this reporting period, 156 parents (duplicative count) accessed support through the Connection Corner established at Washington which included information distribution relative to reading to young children for comprehension, a Children’s Reading Corner, distribution of take home books, and reading incentives such as bookmarks to the children accessing the Corner. The next step will be to replicate the same model of Connection Corner services at the Bowden and Pershing Corners. A progress update will be included in the Ad Hoc report. Next Steps: the take home reading program will expand to include the early childhood centers in the EPN footprint in the fall. Ready Rosie enrollment for the three centers will take place in August, 2015.


2) EPN Learning Festivals: EPN distributes books to PK-12 children and their families at community events. As a part of the KidsFestival hosted by United Way in April, the Scholastic Van distributed 36 books to students in attendance. Additionally, every summer EPN hosts a Summer Learning Festival that focuses on promoting school readiness. This year’s Summer Learning Festival is titled “Paletas in the Park”, a San Antonio twist on Popsicle in the Park and is scheduled for late July 2015. During this reporting period EPN and Urban Strategies conducted planning for the event. As an incentive for children and families who attend, EPN will provide books, popsicles, drinks and entertainment. Our Urban Strategies partner will provide refreshments for attendees and each Summer OST provider will showcase their program by completing a presentation or performance to demonstrate the learning activities students have participated in during the program to promote participation in out of school time programming for the upcoming school year.   g2t3 3) Family Service Parent Rooms provide parents with learning opportunities, literacy outreach opportunities and books for use with their child to encourage them to read to their child [please see GPRA 2A for more information on Parent Rooms]. Parent Rooms are led by one parent coach, one assistant coach, and on average between 8-15 parent volunteers from the community. As of June 1, 2015, five-hundred and forty-two parents reported reading to their children 3 or more times per week, impacting 291 children. The following literacy-related events were also hosted by the Parent Rooms during the reporting period: 20 parents attending a Reading Rodeo Breakfast and Bingo; 56 parents attending Kinder Ready Sessions; and 17 parents attending a meeting about the Summer Reading Program.


P10. Students have access to 21st Century learning tools

GPRA 15: Access to 21st century technology

  • Thirty-five students from Wheatley MS participated in a summer robotics camp funded by EPN, which also purchased robotics kit for the school. The program provoked interest in math and technology and inspired students to continue with the robotics program at Sam Houston HS. Sam Houston HS is in the process of constructing a robotics floor for use by all EPN schools thanks to funding by the Charity Ball Association.

GPRA 12 Table 1