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Oakland Small Schools Foundation, dedicated to supporting small Oakland schools
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Family Resource Center Network

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FRC’s are one vehicle by which schools can build a stronger atmosphere for learning and success in order to bridge the significant achievement gap between the low-income small schools students and their more affluent peers.

Each network school, at different stages of development, provides library resources, advocacy, community referrals, case management, parent education and peer support, and advice and general support to families. Some FRC’s specialize in such areas as mental health, physical health, child abuse and neglect, financial management, housing, college preparation, and substance abuse treatment.

TCNkidsAt ASCEND K-8 school, the Family Resource Center has been active since 2003. The FRC, specializing in assisting parents in accessing community resources, features a space for parents to comfortably meet, two walls of library books and videotapes, tapes players and computer, and resource binders. In addition to parent significant involvement in the school site council and events planning, in 2005 118 parents said they used the Family Resource Center for the following: education (for themselves and their children), school and community event information, the library resources, parenting skills development resources, insurance, employment, advocacy for different issues, help with domestic violence concerns, housing, immigration and legal issues. Parents also come to the FRC for supplies from the Free Food Shelf.

The Think College Now Family Resource Center, operational since 2004 through an alliance with UCBerkeley’s School-University Partnership program, specializes in fostering a college-going culture among the parents and their children. The objective of the program is to level the playing field for low-income ESL students and their families both in terms of attitudes and actual preparation and experience needed to plan for the student’s future beyond high school. Through the Family College-Going Initiative of the FRC, TCN staff engages educational agencies and institutions, parent leaders, community partners, and others about educational opportunities and career information and the types of materials and preparation needed to pursue higher education. College students work with students and parents to foster college aspirations, and students are treated to college field trips. The FRC staff are trained to address the parents’ educational needs as well as student preparation; parents become role models as they develop their own educational plans.

The long term OSSF FRC Network plan includes neighborhood collaboratives whereby each FRC will offer specialized core services that can be accessed by each of the other nearby school communities. With the Network, the schools avoid duplicating their efforts while benefiting from expertise of the different sites and shared resources and staff, joint trainings, and operational efficiencies.


photo this page: Student at UPA