2015 Grants Challenge

Promesa Boyle Heights

It takes a village to nurture a child’s success. A thriving student is the result of more than a good school. It is also a thriving community with jobs, affordable housing, wellness access, & strong social networks. That is why, we are united around a vision where: 1) every child has an opportunity to learn, grow & succeed from cradle through college and career; 2) families can live a stable, healthy and fulfilling life; and 3) every individual is empowered to act & create a more just community.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

East LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles


While the Promesa vision is specific to Boyle Heights, our systems change work and contributions to communities of practice will impact Los Angeles as a whole.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

Engage residents and stakeholders

Expand a pilot or a program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

How will your proposal improve the following LEARN metrics?​

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to LEARN.

Our work began in 2010, when Boyle Heights became one of 21 communities nationally to receive a Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the US DOE. We galvanized a planning process in which 4000+ youth, adult residents, educators, and community partners came together to share lived experiences, reflect on community data, and develop a common vision and action plan.

We transitioned into the first phase of implementation of our plan in 2011. With no dedicated funding, we embarked on the plan’s first strategy: establishment of a community-school model at Mendez HS with the goal of increasing graduation rates and building a college going culture. Together, we: 1) formalized results-oriented partnerships between school staff, families & organizations; 2) launched targeted interventions for the most at-risk students, and 3) hired an Achievement Counselor to coordinate college readiness efforts.

In the end, we raised the graduation rate by nearly 30% from 2010 and 2015. Recently, Mendez HS became the most improved traditional HS in California with a 76-point API gain and the highest cohort of students accepted to college since the school’s opening. We began scaling up and building similar efforts at Hollenbeck MS and Roosevelt HS. Next, we will:

1. Begin construction of the early education and elementary school strategies in our cradle-to-career Road to Success. We will sustain our current efforts and launch a campaign to increase awareness and connect families of children 0-8 to child development, wellness, support groups & other community resources. In collaboration with early education providers, schools & families, we will develop a shared plan of action to expand access and quality to early education opportunies & transitional supports from Pre-K to 3rd grade.

2. Engage and empower 2000+ new residents. We will support existing resident leaders in disseminating academic and wellness information, linking families to the existing Promesa Wellness Series, and galvanizing more community participation in community campaigns that expand access to school-based wellness centers, affordable housing, early education opportunities, and foster funding equity and transparency in the schools.

3. We will continue to be a thought leader and an action leader in the placed-based, community-school, and collective impact communities of practice, helping integrate cross-sector approaches that expand the boundaries of education and community transformation.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Evaluation of our existing Community-School (C-S) model in the schools draws from student-level quantitative & qualitative data. Our C-S model at Mendez HS is part of a comparison group evaluation by AT&T Aspire to empirically assess the impact of our efforts. We have a PN evaluation plan that is the foundation for development/implementation of our evaluation/data systems. We will evaluate projected impact through ongoing data analysis and are committed to using data/evaluation to better understand the impact of our work & share findings with others.

Our early education strategies will be added to our logic model & evaluation plans. We plan to track the number of providers, schools, organizations, & parents engaged over time as well as the intensity and type of collaboration fostered. We will track resident growth & leadership over time using our existing civic engagement tools that track self-identified leadership goals & participation in leadership academies, actions, etc.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research