We’re doing more to ensure our students succeed by offering educational programs that help students stay healthy and receive the support they need to stay on track in school, graduate high school on time and are college and career-ready.
THE CHALLENGE: DROPOUT PREVENTION
When we launched our communitywide action plan FACE 2024, 4,000 OC students were dropping out of high school every year. Today, the outlook is improving somewhat, but even one dropout is one too many.
In the last four years, Orange County has made steady progress in improving the high school graduation rate. However, we are concerned that the challenges of the pandemic—which we know have been more consequential for students from our underserved student population—will result in less-favorable results.
That’s why we’re leveling the playing field by improving educational opportunities for our children—helping put them on the path to academic and life success.
HOW WE DO MORE TO ENSURE STUDENT SUCCESS
EARLY LITERACY IN OC
DID YOU KNOW?
Studies show that a child reading proficiently by the end of third grade is more likely to graduate high school because the end of third grade marks the point when children transition from learning to read to using reading to learn other subjects.
Providing access to books
We help make books and educational materials available for communities where access is scarce.
READY FOR STUDENT SUCCESS
DID YOU KNOW?
On average, high school graduates earn more per week than dropouts—and provide a public benefit of over $200K in lower government spending and higher tax revenues.
Our goal is to increase the high school graduation rate from 86% (California Department of Education/2019-20) to 95% among students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and ensure graduating students are ready for college, career, and life.
Our Destination Graduation program aims to increase the high school graduation rate by offering middle and high school students from high-need districts exciting college and career exploration opportunities, experimental hands-on learning STEM modules, academic tutoring, virtual college field trips, corporate career days, college and career fairs, as well as an independent learning center for at-risk and disengaged students.
YOUTH CAREER CONNECTIONS
Youth Career Connections (YCC) is an integrated, work-based learning program that infuses classroom learning with real-world career experiences by connecting students directly to employers to help them graduate college-, career-, and life-ready. YCC brings learning to life through virtual teacher learning panels, industry site visits, career speaker sessions, summer internships, financial literacy workshops, and Summer Career and Life Prep Academy.
SENIOR YEAR MENTORING PROGRAM
Our program helps high school seniors from low-income families and underserved OC communities to stay on track and graduate on-time. Mentoring from leading professionals and a robust workshop series teach students essential life and career skills to position them for success during school and beyond. New laptops are also provided to bridge the digital divide.
DID YOU KNOW?
Research shows that there is a critical link between health, early childhood development and education, and a child’s future academic success? For example, a child cannot successfully focus on their schoolwork if they are hungry or unwell.
Student wellness is critical to student success. Our goal is to support the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of children in Orange County throughout their education journey.
Healthy Schools Initiative
Our Healthy Schools Initiative is an evidence-based effort that empowers schools to adopt policies and practices to promote student health and wellness through physical activity, nutrition, social and emotional health, and community and parent-led advocacy. Our work in schools aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.
School-Based Healthy Food Provision
Our School-based Healthy Food Provision program provides local schools and its surrounding community access to fresh fruits and vegetables through school meal distributions and/or pop-up farmer’s markets.
UNITED WAY IN ACTION: ENSURING STUDENT SUCCESS
underrepresented middle and high school students received academic and social support through our Destination Graduation program
students experienced work-based learning in our Youth Career Connections program
hours of academic tutoring
NEW CLASS OF 2021 PROGRAM
supported 300 OC high school seniors from underserved neighborhoods to stay on track for graduation by pairing them with a professional mentor to provide academic, emotional and life skills support
FOUNDATIONAL WORK: EARLY GRADE READING EFFORTS
Because a better education can lead to a better life. We’re ensuring Orange County students learn to read early so they’re ready to learn.
children’s books collected and distributed in the community
backpack and school supplies distributed
UNITED WAY IN ACTION: HEALTHY SCHOOLS
4 NATIONAL HEALTHY SCHOOL
Gold: Walnut Elementary
Silver: Pacific Drive Elementary, Paul Revere Elementary and Whitaker Elementary
(all are Title 1 schools)
elementary students and parents from our Healthy Schools Initiative enjoyed guided physical activities and nutrition education
*A national recognition from the Alliance for Healthier Generation.
FOUNDATION WORK: SCHOOL-BASED HEALTHY FOOD PROVISION
Because a full stomach with healthy food is vital for optimal living. We’re helping children and their families get access to nutritious and affordable food.
pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed
meals distributed via food truck
–Source: Community Scorecard 2019-2020
STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES
United Way’s Destination Graduation program has given me the opportunity to go on several different career-oriented field trips that have helped me define my path for the next four years in college.
THANK YOU DONORS
Big THANK YOU to these donors who contributed $25,000+ to support United for Student Success programs.
Donate to United for Student Success
Make a financial contribution to support the United for Student Success initiative.