2020 Grants Challenge

Social and Emotional Learning at Alliance

The Alliance Foundation seeks funding to expand Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies and practices across a network of 28 public charter schools operated by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools (Alliance) in Los Angeles. Through this project, Alliance’s newly-formed Scholar, Family, & Community Services team will support teachers and school leaders to implement instructional best practices that contribute to healthy school climates and nurture social and emotional competencies among the network’s 13,000 students enrolled in grades 6-12.


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

Central LA

East LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

South Bay

San Pedro

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

The Alliance Foundation is serving as lead applicant for this proposal, with project implementation being carried out by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. Existing solely to strengthen community support of and investment in Alliance schools, the Alliance Foundation, a separate legal entity with no overlapping board members or staff, works in tandem with Alliance to ensure that excellent educational opportunities exist for scholars and families that live in communities where traditional institutions have failed them. While distinct 501(c)(3) entities, both organizations are working in fidelity to the charge established by Alliance’s founders more than 15 years ago—to provide support for scholars and families who deserve access to an exceptional public education.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Alliance opened in 2004 when only 49% of local youth graduated high school. Today, the network educates 13,000 scholars annually at 28 academies located in East, South, and Central Los Angeles, Huntington Park, San Pedro, and Sun Valley. Scholars live, learn, and play in some of the city’s most systemically oppressed communities—neighborhoods that are rich with historic and cultural assets and deeply-rooted community pride, but that also grapple with acute financial disparities, high rates of violence, and inequitable access to quality education due to decades of institutional racism and socio-economic injustice. Many Alliance scholars have experienced trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Despite this, 95% of our seniors graduate and 95% are accepted to college. Once there, however, fewer than 30% earn a degree. Seeing a dissonance between scholars’ success under our high support model and the independent skills needed to manage college stressors, Alliance seeks to close the gap.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Alliance was founded on the belief that all youth, regardless of personal and environmental challenges, can achieve at high levels when provided the rightful opportunity to do so—and that we all have an important obligation to help youth in our community fulfill the vast promise of that potential. Alliance underscores this founding belief in every educational service design it puts in place, including the introduction of its new Scholar, Family, & Community Services team. This team will support teachers and school leaders to build school climates that nurture resilient learners—where schoolwide practices support scholars’ healing, social-emotional growth, and lifelong adaptability to stressful situations, and where such practices are considered inextricably linked to the pursuit of rigorous academic goals and standards. As one of the largest and highest performing charter networks in Los Angeles, and with this new team in place, Alliance is uniquely poised to advance the LEARN metrics.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 13,000

Indirect Impact: 35,500

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Research shows that children who have traumatic life experiences are at increased risk for challenges in school, including spending more time out of the classroom and lost instructional minutes due to disciplinary consequences; strained relationships with teachers and peers; being at greater risk of failing a grade; scoring lower on achievement tests; and experiencing higher rates of suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to special education. This project will also have broader implications for the 35,500 Alliance teachers, school leaders, and parents who are collectively invested in scholars’ safety and wellbeing, and who will benefit from scholars’ increased ability to discuss and regulate their emotional responses to stressors.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

In this next phase of its strategic growth, Alliance is committed to ensuring that its scholars not only get into college, but that at least 75% successfully earn a college degree. This will be accomplished in part by ensuring that all scholars who go on to independently manage their educational journeys in college have the social and emotional competencies to persist along the demanding path to degree completion. Toward this end, the Scholar, Family, & Community Services team will provide critical professional development and coaching for teachers and school leaders, data tracking and analysis, as well as curriculum materials and collateral resources for expanded SEL to take place in Alliance schools.

In the short-term, this project will support capacity to deliver SEL services to a greater number of schools and scholars across the network. Long-term, the project will contribute to a more forbearing, considerate, and enriched society by helping Alliance graduate more self-aware, civically engaged, academically accomplished, and college-ready scholars each year. SEL learning gains will be measured through discipline/suspension and expulsion decreases, increased or strongly sustained attendance, and outcomes gains on the Panorama SEL Survey, which is a research-based tool that measures scholars’ social-emotional functioning and perceptions. There is also a teacher survey component that will be used in conjunction with student surveys.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your submission impact?​

College graduates

High school graduation rates

Suspension and expulsion rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Communications support

Capacity, including staff

Strategy assistance and implementation