We believe our members have a better chance for success in adulthood if we provide a safe environment with academic support, supportive relationships with staff and peers, opportunities for skill-building, leadership opportunities, and recognition for a job well done.
Studies show that consistent on-time grade progression and tracking and support with A-G credit accumulation are critical indicators of academic success. Having our members graduate from high school and attend a university, college or trade school is our ultimate goal.
The overarching goal of our Education Initiative is to ensure that every member is reaching their fullest potential in school and is in a position to enter a 4-year college or vocational program after receiving a high school diploma. Since our members come to us with a broad range of academic skills and interests, learning styles and perceptions about school, we employ a similarly wide array of programs and strategies to support them.
Finally, we want our members to see, feel and hear Academic Success everywhere in our Clubhouses. Our Education Directors work closely with other staff to ensure they are including the importance of education in everything they do. Since every member will not participate in our academic enrichment programs, we do our best to reach them where they are. We believe that what a member sees on our walls can have a positive effect on their attitudes towards school; the conversations they have with staff can influence their behavior in school; moreover, when we deliberately point out how a particular activity (i.e. technology, athletics, art) incorporates something they are learning in school, we know that we can have a strong impact on how that member performs in school.
Homework Help (Power Hour)
The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco’s cornerstone academic program is “Power Hour,” our homework help program. For one hour per day, four days per week, each department in the Clubhouse shuts down and becomes a space where members are required to do their homework. If a member indicates that he or she does not have homework that day, the Staff will provide that member with a fun and engaging High Yield Learning Activities (HYLAs) in order to help develop positive attitudes about homework and learning.
We understand that one of the most rudimentary elements of out-of-school academic time involves completing homework assignments on a regular basis. Our goal is to have 65% of our members participate in Power Hour each day – some of our youth, especially teens, are involved in extracurricular activities and athletics after school, so that is why we do not expect 100% of our average daily attendance to attend Power Hour. Our Education Directors and other staff also check in with those members who come to the Club after homework help time to make sure they have completed their homework.
We have two mentoring programs that focus on Academic Success: Achievement Matters (grades 1-7) and Formal Mentorship (grades 8-12). Achievement Matters is designed for small groups with periodic check- in time for individual members. Each session is done in a workshop format and the topics range from goal setting and study skills to leadership and community service. Formal Mentorship is based on a one-on-one model, where each member meets regularly with their mentor to receive guidance on setting and achieving their own academic and personal goals. We currently have over 500 members participating in our mentoring programs.
Each of our Clubs also provides strong enrichment programs in math, literacy and science. We specifically target our younger members (ages 6-12) in order to foster a love of learning in these critical subjects. Staff recruits members who are struggling or have exhibited negative attitudes about a particular subject to participate in the program. Each program is designed to help members have fun while learning. We also survey our members in order to gauge their level of enjoyment in the program and their attitude about the subject.
Our College Prep program meets the needs of high school seniors by offering support through the college application process and financial aid requirements. Teens will be provided with information and support necessary in order to successfully complete college applications, financial aid forms, trade school admissions and any other higher education admission needs.
Each year, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco offers our members the opportunity to visit different types of post-secondary institutions through our college tour programs.During the spring, we offer college tours of public and private, 2-year and 4-year colleges for both our middle school and high school aged members.
We provide free one-on-one and small group tutoring sessions after Power Hour for members who may be struggling in certain subjects or with particular concepts they are learning in school.
Academic Case Management
Each of our academic programs requires members to bring in their report cards/progress reports each marking period. The Education Directors review each member’s report to see how they are performing in school. We pay particular attention to Math and English/Language Arts in an effort to support members who are struggling and to help inform and enhance our academic enrichment programs. We also review the attendance records to help support those Members who may struggle to attend class/school consistently. When a member who is struggling is identified, we reach out to the parents/guardians, teachers, counselors and school administrators and devise a strategy for support.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco has a robust scholarship and financial assistance program.We offer over $100,000 in college scholarships each year to well-deserving teens and we have also connected our members to more than $1,000,000 in scholarships from other foundations and institutions. Finally, we provide financial support for members who are applying to colleges, as well as private middle and high schools in the form of application fees, and SAT, ACT and SSAT fees.
Middle School & High School Transition Support
Transitioning from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college can be daunting for young people, especially those from underserved communities. Studies also show that students who do not have positive experiences during these key transition times are less likely to be successful in the next level of education. Therefore, BGCSF makes an extra effort to support our members at each of these stages. Our programs offer support in three vital areas:
- Academic Preparation
We prepare members for a heavier, more complex workload and help them gain a sense of purpose in what they are doing and why it is important to do well in their next endeavor.
We help members understand the social nuances they will encounter at the next level of their education and help them integrate into the culture successfully.
We help members and parents make informed decision about choosing schools.