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Step to College! Oakland Success Story Documented by CBS-5 "The point of education is not to escape poverty; the point of education is to END it." —Jeff Andrade-Duncan, PhD

Students in urban and poor communities are exposed to persistent forms of trauma that result from violence, hunger, unstable housing, and the broader effects of poverty and racism. Most will not perform well in school unless these basic survival needs are met. When urban youth do manage to find academic success, despite these challenging circumstances, the unspoken societal message is that success means "getting out" of their neighborhood. If the most resilient and successful young people leave their communities, then the vicious cycles of poverty and despair are never broken. We are determined to tackle these problems with love, hope and teaching methods that inspire students to achieve academic success while instilling in them a sense of responsibility to return to their neighborhoods to build thriving sustainable communities in urban centers in the U.S. and around the world.

What we've done

Jeff Duncan-Andrade has dedicated his adult life to supporting and developing urban youth to help create a sustainable urban community. He has been teaching and coaching in the Oakland public schools for 18 years and has found his success as a teacher and a coach to be closely related. Coaches work with athletes over a number of years. During that time, they have the opportunity to get more intensively involved with students' families and their general well-being than most other adults in their schooling lives. Having tapped this opportunity as a coach, Jeff began using a "looping" approach in his classroom where he worked with a cohort of high school students for four years until they graduated. He offered his full commitment to each of them: 360-degree support on a 24/7 schedule. He became teacher, life coach, big brother, and offered his home as a safe haven when trauma struck in a student's life. In return, he was able to demand a lot from them academically, as individuals and as a collective. The results were dramatic. In his most recent cohort, 24 of 26 students went onto four-year colleges or universities. Furthermore, over the years many of his students have returned to Oakland to serve the community, many of them as teachers. The approach is, at one level quite simple; he encourages students to take pride in their histories, cultures, and communities in order that they might share personal and collective commitments to grow healthier communities.

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