January 22nd Listening Session

MBK Stakeholder Meeting
Jan 22, 2015 @ City Hall

Milestone 1: Ensure all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally ready

Question 1: Within this MBK milestone what are the unique challenges you community or organization faces? (i.e. cultural, language barriers)
• Before entering into the school system, where is the support for the parents in entering the children into the school system?
o With parents who work full time, there is a gap: without any help, how can they be there for their children?
• It starts with the parents
o Many parents don’t emphasize the importance of school, and these children are often the ones who aren’t ready to start school
o We must make parents understand the importance and significance of school as early as possible
• Limited English proficiency is a barrier
• Asian American community: bullying is another barrier
• Affordable housing is where we need to start
o With other pressures, school becomes not that important to a family
• Communication
o There is not equal access to information
o The challenge is communication of services to ALL members in a community
• Lack of culturally based Head start programs or early education programs
o Overcoming cultural and language barriers (for people speaking in African languages)
o Many parents come from communities with educational systems that are very different from America’s
o They expect the school to take care of everything, we need culturally sensitive early education programs to address unique situations
• Information is also important, parents don’t know that undocumented people still have the right to go to school (South Philly Mexican community especially)
• Interconnected issues, PARENTS is a common theme across different communities: information, support, cultural competencies
o Organizations must be mindful of these barriers when they work with parents; organizations have access to parents
• Funding of programs in the community is a challenge
• INVOLVE the parents
• If we emphasize the development of existing cultural programs at the community level, the quality of these programs will increase and we can overcome barriers
• Ensuring parents have an idea on how to encourage their kids to read and develop thought process and communication process

Question 2: What high-performing programs currently work to impact this milestone?
• Early Head Start Programs
• CCIS
• Hall-Mercer Teen-mom program
• Private School Nurseries

Milestone 2: All children read at grade level by 3rd grade

Challenges:
• Language and Cultural Barriers
• Stereotypes (overcoming, coping, eliminating
• Time constraints, particularly for single parents
• Literacy, in home, families, role reversal, kids teaching parents
• Nutrition-kids undernourished
• Lack of teachers, more one-on-one is needed
o High student to teach ratio
• Violence prevention-need more
• Health and Wellness services for parents, intervention strategies
• Lack of vision-motivate, encourage, planning when it comes to parenting
• Teachers feel disempowered, lack of salary and status
• Lack of libraries and librarians
• Access to books, especially immigrant community
• Health and Wellness of kids and students
• Lack of literacy in home/family
• Absence of good nutrition. Under nourished
• Lack of parental concern
• Harsh community/neighborhood environment
• Parents that don’t motivate/encourage children
• Exposure to early violence
• Parents themselves do not read
• Time Constraints

Milestone 3: Ensure all youth graduate from high school

Question 1: Within this MBK milestone what are the unique challenges you community or organization faces? (i.e. cultural, language barriers)
• COLOURS: Service a lot of LGBT community youth; a lot of dropouts over 16-17 years working in the field
o Bullying, influence from the neighborhoods
o Focus on schools that are worst performing and the neighborhoods that they are in, a lot of students still go to school in fear inside and outside the school
o Make education important in the neighborhoods, make it OKAY to graduate high school
o Social media influence, they are being fed this image that going to college is just NOT COOL
o We have to get back to inspire students that it is a source of PRIDE to be educated
• The process of dropping out of school actually starts in 4th grade
o Path Start Program, those with the opportunity for one on one intervention are much more likely to graduate than those who don’t receive individual attention
o With a good student to teacher ratio, dropout rates go down
o With 1 teacher and many students, students are left to find their way by themselves
o Language barrier
o Still have not caught up to where they should be but because of their age, they are moved up
o When special attention is taken away around grade 3, they start to drop out
o Lack of seamlessness between the transition from younger age to higher grade
o By the time they are graduating from elementary school and as they pass into middle school, the mentality translates into skipping class, especially if they are behind academically

• Event dropout rate between 8th and 9th grade rate is high: CRIME AND SAFETY in the school, which goes unreported
• safety, transparency, relevance of the curriculum
• What are we educating them to move on to? With a lack of job growth, there isn’t a big incentive to graduate high school
• if you do graduate high school, more than likely, you will end up in community college, and they have to do remediation so they can actually transfer to a 4 year school
• lottery system is problematic: don’t give the same amount of resources to all schools, its potluck
o With such big differences between schools, the school district itself labels you a failure
o school choice is a barrier
• Philadelphia school system lacks a mental program, if the parent isn’t around to support the kid, who keeps track of the kids? Lack of follow up; need someone to push them along
• cultural level: opposite of peace is confusion and violence comes as a result of confusion
o Philly is multicultural but it doesn’t seem that the education system takes into account that they are so many immigrants/people from different places living in Philadelphia
o Educator is not educated on how to deal with people with different cultures and different rules
• Coming with a culture, if we really want kids to perform, we cannot neglect where kids are coming from, test scores will reflect
o Most schools that are bilingual have higher results because of self-confidence instilled in children who are not ashamed of understanding their heritage; other schools bully kids who are different
o need cultural system to promote the multicultural issues
• Alternative: reason you go to school is to get a job, and the reason you get a job is to make money; the alternative to school now is illegal crime, profiting from illegal crime (drug sales, robbery)
o Alternative to school is $$, they know that when they get out of school there are no jobs, so they pursue illegal crime
• In low-income communities, children are “parentified” and traumatized
o Children are forced to bring in money, and parents even allow criminal activity in order to provide money
• Teachers are not trained to deal with psychological indicators/problems, students expressing frustrations
• Documents: if children don’t have documentation, why would they graduate from high school if they don’t see a clear pathway into employment?
• Who is teaching our children, cultural cognizant, WHITE teachers who do not come from similar backgrounds
• LGBT youth going to school with teachers who are not competent, don’t refer them to actually helpful programs and instead, they impose their own beliefs which can be harmful (i.e. act straight or differently from who you are)
• Who is leadership, what is the diversity of teachers, need more positive role models within school

Milestone 4: All youth complete post-secondary education or training

What high performing programs currently work to impact this milestone?

• United Way
• Giant Steps
• The Attic Youth Center
• Philadelphia Futures
• Early College prep dual enrollment program @Arcadia
• Youth Build
• City Year
• SCEP
• Delaware Valley College Tours

Challenges
• Access to financial aid
• Parental support
• Awareness of resources and support
• Financial and fiscal literacy
• Community based support
• Lack of goal setting
o Goal attainment planning
• Incomplete career/college/guidance counselors
• Lack of mentors/mentorships
• Lack of preparation mechanism
o Strengthen systems, more socially practical
• Expanding opportunities regarding career interests
• Making sure career training keeps pace with industry needs
o Better and more relevant training
o Especially for those in vocational and technical trainings
• Support structures for student parents

Milestone 5: Ensure all youth out of school are employed

Question 1: Within this MBK milestone what are the unique challenges you community or organization faces? (i.e. cultural, language barriers)
• Be more inclusive in reports, for the final action plan; be sure to represent all communities (African America, Latina, Asian, etc.)
• Other cities have embraced the challenge of racial disparities across the board (not just Black and white), and this approach has been beneficial
• Crime and safety influences employment
• Youth need to be employable; need to develop soft skill set
• Gender issue, domestic violence, male is the one who is working usually, and the male takes control, so if the female has income, helps reduce tension
• Tax structure is very poor to business development, many jobs outside of the city, low-income workers have to travel hours to work, and spend money on commute
• Systematic: lack of jobs, lack of skills, lack of education
• Lack of job opportunities, no businesses
• Big economic centers: downtown, center city district, university city, leaves out over half of the city who doesn’t live there, these big centers are employing people from suburbs, residents left jobless
• How do we have viable business options in north Philly, Kensington, portal development?
• As an example, Atlantic City and the casinos, casinos were thriving but the communities around it were dilapidated
• Inequality: certain areas are thriving, while others are struggling, eventually it will break down
• South Philadelphia, Mexican community: young people, first generation of kids just about to graduate from high school: most of the families own the small businesses, you see kids 12 years old already in the business, grow up with vision of my parents don’t have money to go to college/high school, so stay with family business, no social mobility
• Alternative to education: If education is not going to provide at the end of the road good job, then motivation/incentive falls apart
• You have four years of strong, powerful rigorous training in high school, but the transition afterwards is not there
• Vocational school, should start in high school, why not start mechanics and such in high school
• Job readiness program, community promise: teaching entrepreneurialism to kids 18-24
• Job readiness track in high school, you know how to do a job interview (teach them to dress well for interview, etc.)
• Job training is part of the problem, there are many job training programs (Affordable Care act 21 mil for green jobs), all these people trained for green jobs BUT NO BUSINESS can carry them on the payroll
• With lack of businesses, we are encouraging brain power to leave the city
• Business partnership with schools, early reentry programs out of prison
• So train them in skills that are needed for jobs that are actually available:
o Creative economy, green sector jobs, IT, healthcare, ancillary jobs, Comcast, innovation academies, PECO

Question 2: What high-performing programs currently work to impact this milestone?

-Job Corps
-Je US
-Youth Build
-multicultural community Family services
-POYS job readiness program

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