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Education Partnerships offer insights into new education models

The challenges of a hybrid environment presented the EdP programs with opportunities to deepen engagement with community partners.
EPASA tutors and youth at the Haas Center

For more than three decades, the Haas Center for Public Service’s Education Partnerships (EdP) programs have promoted educational equity in the local community by engaging Stanford students and community youth in tutoring and mentoring relationships. The EdP tutor-mentor model with local partners reaches students through four programs: Preschool Counts (pre-K), Ravenswood Reads (K-3), East Palo Alto Stanford Academy (middle school), and the High School Support Initiative (high school). All four programs transitioned from being online to in-person this year, with more than 70 Stanford students leading programs for over 300 youth.

As the pandemic has illuminated and exacerbated systemic inequities, including the opportunity gap in education, EdP programs have been a critical resource for educational and socio-emotional support for local children. Through evolving circumstances, these programs have worked on keeping children on track and connecting them to tutor-mentors.

Despite the challenges of a hybrid environment, the programs only deepened engagement with community partners. The High School Support Initiative began a partnership with LifeMoves, providing online tutoring for 25 high school students experiencing homelessness. Tutor-mentors not only provided vital academic support to these young people, but they also deepened their understanding of the challenges these youth navigate. Ravenswood Reads offered tutoring to two Ravenswood City School District schools, and Preschool Counts continued its seven-year partnership with the pre-K and kindergarten communities at St. Elizabeth Seton.

Local youth were excited to return to campus this year. Through the Stanford Winter Enrichment Experience for Teens, EdP brought 40 middle school and high school students to Stanford to explore and participate in workshops on well-being, goal-setting, and leadership. While the intention was for each program to operate in-person in the spring, the ongoing pandemic resulted in weeks of operating online. Unsurprisingly, Stanford tutor-mentors rose to the challenge and became experts on bringing power to hybrid spaces by redefining what community means and developing flexibility to meet youth needs. Finally, when summer rolled around, Stanford students provided an exciting six-week educational enrichment program for 55 middle school and high school students through the 49ers Academy in East Palo Alto. The theme was "Empowerment, Leadership, Growth, and Solidarity."

EdP program staff are using lessons learned from virtual tutoring and mentoring to enhance these programs for the future. For example, a new Preschool Counts newsletter will keep parents and guardians informed, and tutoring and mentoring options are now offered both online and in-person. Additionally, Renee Scott, Haas Center Program Director for Early Education, and Rebecca Silverman, Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor, continued a collaborative study of the impact of the Ravenswood Reads program. Previous findings through a Transforming Learning Accelerator grant suggest that parent communication through personalized, actionable text messages increased learning in one-on-one remote tutoring or in-person tutoring. The team, in partnership with the Ravenswood City School District, was awarded a Stanford Office of Community Engagement grant aimed at helping reduce the pandemic’s impacts on San Mateo and Santa Clara counties’ communities. The study included youth and their families from Ravenswood City School District and the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, and the tutoring and data collection wrapped up at the end of July.