United Way Bay Area

SparkPoint in Community Schools


Until now, financial education hasn't been a part of the community schools model. Programs and services are focused on students and often see parents merely as facilitators of their children's education and don't offer opportunities for parents to increase their own education and job skills. 

SparkPoint in community schools helps families gain a stable financial footing – while simultaneously supporting student's well-being and academic success. SparkPoint at Westlake Middle School will begin to shed light on the link between parents' financial education and students' academic performance by monitoring attendance, grades, and test scores.

United Way's Goal in Expanding SparkPoint
in Community Schools

United Way's SparkPoint Community School goal is to incorporate SparkPoint services at 30 community schools in low-income neighborhoods across the Bay Area over the next three years. As more families access SparkPoint services - we will gain a deeper understanding of how or whether when household income increases – student achievement accelerates (at the same rate as higher income peers).

Changing the paradigm: This approach is not easy. It requires a shared responsibility among partners with shared agreements on common measurements of success. The services provided are not simply co-located, but wholly integrated into the very structure of the school – where leadership from the school, community partners and parents are all critical to its success. Yet, by working smarter, together with sustained commitment – supported by ever increasing positive family outcomes – we can reverse the high dropout rate and increase college readiness and career success among our low-income youth. By working with children and parents – strengthening 2 generations together - we can create economic security and educational success that enables parents and their children to move out of poverty together.

When kids are in trouble, we usually find some sort of trouble at home too: mom has lost a job, or the family is facing foreclosure. Having SparkPoint at a Community School allows the entire family to lift themselves out of poverty so the child can thrive at school.

~Dr. Ramona Bishop, Superintendent
  Vallejo City Unified School District