who we are
We are a non-profit organization founded, led, and staffed by a community of women of color, many who are Oakland natives, committed to serving our community. We work towards the improvement of chronic absenteeism by creating programs that build excitement and enthusiasm for school attendance by rewarding students and families. We also build the capacity of schools to address chronic absenteeism by funding innovative ideas. Our direct run programs currently reach over 2,400 students in 96 schools across the Oakland Unified School District. Our grantmaking initiatives have provided $135,000 to four partner schools to build their capacity to implement innovative programming to improve attendance outcomes. Chronic absenteeism is a powerful first indicator of a number of negative outcomes that place a child off track to high school graduation, which has a lifetime ripple effect on economic security, job opportunities, health outcomes, and incarceration. Addressing chronic absenteeism has the power to place students on the path to achievement and graduation and prevent students from entering the school to prison pipeline. Chronic absenteeism is the first line of defense in dropout prevention. We see ourselves as on the frontlines of this work.
why we do it
A recent report from the California Attorney General’s Office found that 73% of students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade cannot meet state standards for English in third grade, which in turn quadruples their risk of dropping out of high school. Currently, only 64% of Oakland students in a four-year cohort will graduate from high school. High school dropout is associated with poorer lifelong health, lower lifetime earning potential, and an increased risk of incarceration. Students without a high school diploma are eight times more likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives.