Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘California’

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Avance in Santa Barbara

In the Santa Barbara Independent, the story of how Whatever It Takes helped bring AVANCE, a great program for parents, to town:

AVANCE is an early childhood and parenting program aimed at lower-income Hispanic communities that began in San Antonio, Texas. …

The principal of McKinley [Elementary School], Emilio Handall (who will become an assistant superintendent in July), first read about AVANCE inWhatever It Takes, a book about educational reformer Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. Handall raised the idea with Jon Clark, executive director of the James S. Bower Foundation, and before he knew it, the Santa Barbara school district had obtained grant money to send a contingency down to San Antonio to learn about the program.

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Promise Neighborhood Grants

Last week, the Department of Education announced a new round of Promise Neighborhood funding, including some new planning grants as well as the first implementation grants. The New America Foundation’s Early Ed Watch has all the background. The implementation grants went to organizations in Buffalo; Hayward, California; San Antonio, rural Kentucky, and Minneapolis. (Sondra Samuels, the C.E.O. of the Northside Achievement Zone, the Minneapolis group that was awarded an implementation grant, is pictured above.)

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Santos review

A review of “Whatever It Takes” from an unusual location: Taft Prison Camp in California. Michael Santos, a long-serving federal prisoner there, has formed a foundation with his former fellow inmate Justin Paperny to prepare prisoners for re-entry into life after prison. Santos writes regular book reviews on the foundation’s web site. Here’s part of what he had to say about “Whatever It Takes”:

I aspire to contribute to a foundation that will prepare more prisoners for law-abiding, productive lives. In doing so, I hope to lower America’s deplorable recidivism rates while helping more prisoners create meaning in their lives. Reading Whatever It Takes shows that I must take a data-driven approach, relying upon real numbers to validate success. I cannot use “happy talk,” saying that I’m running a best-in- class system. Rather, I must document every aspect of success. Doing so requires strict accountability logs that will allow me to assess operations, making tough choices when necessary.

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood Grants

This week, the education department announced the 21 recipients of Promise Neighborhood planning grants, from the Abyssinian Development Corporation in Harlem to Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission in Los Angeles. The department’s press release lists the other 19 winners, and more details are here. There was a good AP overview, and a story on the New York angle in the Times.

One of the winners was the Whatever It Takes initiative from Athens, Georgia, which I blogged about back in July. This story from the Athens Banner-Herald explains the organization’s future plans:

If the group doesn’t receive federal funds to implement the plan, Whatever it Takes volunteers will continue to seek donations of time or cash from foundations, individuals and other service agencies both near and far, according to Lewis Earnest, chairman of the board for Family Connection/Communities in Schools of Athens.

“We’ve got some investment capital and we believe that we can show other people, other foundations and individuals and state and local government that we’ve got a good plan,” Earnest said.

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood Roundup

News on Promise Neighborhood projects continues to come in from around the country.

From Zanesville, Ohio, a report on a coalition led by the local United Way.

From Richmond, California, a radio report on an ambitious project to improve outcomes in the city’s Iron Triangle district. Ken Lau, who is leading the group applying for a Promise Neighborhood grant, is quoted:

LAU: Whether we become a Promise Neighborhood or not, we are inspired enough at this point and see what’s working that we will continue to move. It’s like, if you all are here just because you want the Promise Neighborhood money and that’s going to be your make or break, you probably really shouldn’t be here because you need to be in here for the long haul. And you need to have something put together that will in fact improve that community.

From Chicago, a great story in Catalyst Chicago profiling five separate groups that have filed applications from that city.

In the Austin Chronicle, a threestory package on the two groups there that have filed applications. From the main story:

Paul Tough spent five years reporting on the Harlem Children’s Zone (see “The Canada Model“) and says there’s “an R&D feel” to the federal offer. “The Harlem Child­ren’s Zone is one particular model,” he said, “but this isn’t about cloning it in other cities. It’s about adapting it for different places.” There will be certain shared components of any successful application, not least that schools will be used as the logistical hub for any proposal. “That’s why it’s being run by the Department of Education and not Health or anyone else,” Tough said. But this endeavor is about taking all the agencies and entities that are already in place – educational, medical, nutritional, charitable, governmental, commercial, and legal – and getting them to work together – better, smarter, and more effectively.

Complicating matters, though, is this news, from the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Chances appear dim that President Obama will get anywhere near the full amount of money he requested in next year’s budget for Promise Neighborhoods — the program to help nonprofit groups set up antipoverty projects modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone.

The administration requested $210-million for the effort in 2011. But the Senate Appropriations Committee last week proposed spending only $20-million, while a House Appropriations subcommittee voted earlier to allocate $60-million.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Promise Neighborhoods Roundup

June 30 was the deadline for groups applying for Promise Neighborhood planning grants, and according to this story in Youth Today, the department of education received 339 separate applications for the 20 grants. The department’s web site posted an interactive map showing where the applications came from. NPR did a story. And the Nonprofit Quarterly had some predictions:

Who is likely to get the Promise Neighborhoods designations? Potential applicants are sorting through their competitive advantages and disadvantages. Those with histories of foundation support and backing have something of a leg up in generating matching dollars, such as the Highline School District in and around Seattle, which boasts a decade of involvement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections project. An impending Los Angeles County application boasts the involvement of a funders consortium including the California Endowment and the Annenberg Foundation. For the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, long the focus of planning efforts over the years, the presence of Yale as a neighbor constitutes a level of institutional and technical credibility.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of local coverage of specific applicants, including stories, editorials, and letters from Charleston, South Carolina; Rochester, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Norwich, Connecticut; Athens, Georgia; Las Vegas; northeast Ohio; and a Native American community in rural Colorado.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

News from San Diego

Voice of San Diego, an online “public-service, nonprofit news organization that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting,” has posted an interesting new story about efforts to turn San Diego’s City Heights area into a Promise Neighborhood. According to the story, people there are wrestling with an unusual dilemma: Would landing a Promise Neighborhood grant mean there was too much philanthropic investment in the neighborhood?

In some ways, residents believe, City Heights is ideally situated to compete for the federal grant. It has San Diego’s largest network of community-based nonprofits tackling issues from affordable housing to gang violence to financial literacy.

“City Heights has arisen as a very strong potential community,” said Diana Ross, collaborative director of the Mid City Community Advocacy Network, which supports organizations in the area. “We have more resources, and City Heights is a community where there’s a lot of investment.”

But there are also standing questions about whether the community, which already enjoys significant philanthropic investment, is equipped to handle even more. On Tuesday, more than 100 community residents and nonprofit leaders met at the City Heights Wellness Center to learn about the federal initiative and begin discussing whether City Heights was ready for it.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Speech in Irvine

Next Thursday, February 18, I’ll be giving the keynote address at “STEM Summit 2010: Early Childhood Through Higher Education,” a conference at the University of California in Irvine. There’s some background here, and an agenda here.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010


More news on tomorrow’s talk in Baltimore and an awesome price on a used copy of “Whatever It Takes” (must be in Bay Area).

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Promise Neighborhood Conference

This week, the Harlem Children’s Zone presented Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model, a conference attended by 1,400 people from around the country who came to New York in delegations to learn more about the Zone and about Promise Neighborhoods. Several officials in the Obama administration spoke at the conference, providing new details about the Promise Neighborhood initiative, including Arne Duncan, the education secretary; Melody Barnes, the director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council; Adolfo Carrion, the special assistant to the president for urban affairs; Heather Higginbottom, the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Jim Shelton, the assistant deputy secretary of education for innovation and improvement.

In anticipation of the conference, there was local newspaper coverage in San Bernadino, whose conference delegation included Mayor Pat Morris; in Chicago, which sent delegations from three different neighborhoods; in Springfield, Mass., where Geoffrey Canada spoke last week (and I spoke three weeks ago); and in Columbia, South Carolina, where a local group is working on a Zone in the Eau Claire neighborhood.

In Baltimore, a local paper called the Urbanite had a long, detailed article about the various plans in that city for Zone replication projects:

There are at least four Promise Neighborhood proposals in the works: The mayor’s office has been working on one in Park Heights; the nonprofit Living Classrooms is involved with another; and the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins are each pushing proposals as well.