Kids with books. 

English Language Learning

A kid writing with a teacher.The El Sol Science and Arts Academy’s unique curriculum teaches students to read, write and speak academic English and Spanish, and supports student learning through extended day programming and enrichment activities.

Additionally, the school works in partnership with Share Our Selves (SOS) and other partners to provide students and families on-site access to additional health, education and social services, as well as case management.

El Sol has been recognized as a CA Distinguished School (2010), and received the CA Title I Academic Achievement Award (2011 and 2012) and CA Association of Bilingual Educators' Seal of Excellence (2011). Its low-income students have increased their Academic Performance Index test scores from the mid-500s to 880 in 2011.

El Sol is now among the top two percent of all schools in California.

A group of studentsLearning Link is an interactive center for parents and their children ages birth – 5 in San Juan Capistrano.

The center provides an accessible and creative learning environment to help young children be more academically prepared for kindergarten and to help parents become their child’s first teacher.

The Learning Link offers various hands-on academic learning centers for children and their parents, as well as educational toys to stimulate young minds and encourage parent-child interaction.

School Readiness

A teacher with students in a park.Orange County Head Start, Inc. (OCHS) is an early childhood education program that promotes the school readiness of children, ages birth to five, from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. OCHS provides comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, dental, nutrition, social, and family services through direct services and community partnerships. Parent engagement is encouraged through ongoing meetings, trainings, committee and volunteer opportunities.  OCHS was founded in 1979 and currently serves over 4,100 children and families in Orange County and the City of Hawaiian Gardens each year.

Kids writingReadiness on the Road, a program of Boys & Girls Clubs Garden Grove, serves families of preschoolers from ages 30 months to 5 years. School readiness and parenting classes open are to the public in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Westminster, Santa Ana, and Stanton.

Offerings include parent education classes and opportunities for parents and children to learn together. Translation services and additional Family Support programs are provided as well. In 2011–2012, 398 children completed the school readiness program and 367 children received assessments to determine levels of learning and functioning to better prepare them for future academic success.
A student clipping letters.

Jumpstart partners college students with at-risk children in preschool classrooms to help ensure kindergarten readiness and school success. The program engages children from low-income families in a 40-session program with a curriculum designed to develop language and literacy skills.

Jumpstart has been successful in preparing students for school, promoting early literacy, and starting these children on a pathway toward academic and life success.

This year, more than 1,000 volunteers will make a difference in the lives of over 2,500 children throughout Southern California.

Padres Unidos serves families in Santa Ana’s Hispanic community who face low incomes, unemployment, poor access to housing and transportation, language barriers, and challenges to the family social structure.

Parents and children participate in powerful educational modules that are facilitated by a cadre of trained and committed individuals and families who volunteer and work in the program. Participants face their socioeconomic, cultural and educational strengths and challenges in a supportive group setting. Participants validate and empower one another as they create individualized roadmaps for change within themselves, their family and the community.

According to a Casey Family Programs study, Padres Unidos has reduced incidents of child abuse and neglect, helped children and parents achieve academic and economic success; created a multi-generational culture of volunteerism and community involvement; reduced rates of gang involvement; decreased discipline problems at home and at school; improved relationships between community members and the child welfare system; reduced barriers to employment; acknowledged, contended with, and overcame the results of multi-generational poverty and cultural disintegration.

A group of teachers. Help Me Grow Orange County was established in 2005 to connect children and their families to developmental services to enhance the behavior, learning and development of young children through age five years. Its mission is to connect young children and their families to developmental and behavioral services and promote developmental surveillance and screening. HMG-OC’s five program components are: 1) Making the connection; 2) Building the network to be utilized when making referrals; 3) Educating providers; 4) Collecting data for identification of gaps and barriers; and 5) Providing opportunities for developmental screening.

While not a direct services provider, Help Me Grow is a comprehensive information, referral and care coordination resource for families with concerns about the development of their children. In 2011/12, 1866 parents and 973 providers contacted HMG-OC by phone or in person seeking assistance .  Over 7100 referrals were given to the parents who contacted HMG, and 1600 referrals were given to the providers. Parents successfully made a connection or were in the process of connecting with 61% of the referrals at the time of follow-up – meaning children were connected to 5300 services.  

Resources for Schools and Families

Kids with books.THINK Together is closing the achievement gap for at-risk students through partnerships with school districts to provide extended learning time, summer, early literacy and Saturday programs, as well as after-school tutoring. Santa Ana Unified School District, a long-time THINK partner, is demonstrating great success in closing the achievement gap, increasing API scores by 27 percent from 2002-2010.

An evaluation by UC Irvine’s Department of Education showed that THINK participants in Santa Ana made greater gains on the 2011 state assessments than non-participants, and that progress was enhanced by longevity in the program, targeted instruction, and layering of services, as students in multiple THINK programs demonstrated the greatest gains. 

THINK Together now serves over 100,000 low-income students in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. Last year, they added more than 80 new extended learning time sites statewide, and expanded to 91 early literacy sites throughout Orange County.

Kids with backpacksThe Twilight Education Project provides low income, English Language Learning families an opportunity to learn language and life skills that will help them thrive. This program removes the typical barriers to services for low income families: it’s free, takes place after work hours and provides transportation and child care.

Three nights a week, school-age children receive tutoring in English literacy, homework help and computer lab access. Their toddler siblings participate in preschool activities focused on English literacy and modeled on the Club's nationally accredited preschool. Just a few feet away in their own classrooms, parents learn Community Based English, a curriculum that helps them gain proficiency in speaking and reading language associated with safety, medical care, transportation and work. Parents also have the opportunity to get hands-on job skills training and earn a certificate in childcare to help open the door to greater employment opportunities.

Last year, over 350 children and adults learned side by side in the program’s supportive atmosphere.

LEAThe Orange County Business Council’s LEA program helps Latino parents and families in Orange County advocate for their children and spark the importance of education in Latino neighborhoods around the 100 low-performing schools in the county.

LEA acts as a facilitator to pull together parents, school, community groups and existing programs to improve education around the 100 low-performing schools in the county. By developing community-based training programs, the initiative helps parents better understand and navigate the educational system as a way of helping their children succeed in school. 

Since 2005, LEA has created and printed 30,000 copies of the Ten Educational Commandments for Parents book in English and Spanish, successfully trained more than 7,000 parents and introduced an additional 23,000 parents to the Ten Educational Commandments for Parents, and coordinated the expansion of 30 parent coalitions.