More on Project Arrive
“My group is like a little family. We spend a lot of time together, joke around, help each other out.” -Project Arrive Mentor
History of Project Arrive:
Mentoring For Success’s group mentoring program, Project Arrive, is an initiative of SFUSD designed to address the needs of youth at-risk of dropping out of school. Inspired by promising research, SFUSD began in 2010-2011 to implement group mentoring for a selected population at four public high schools to increase the resilience, GPAs, and attendance of these youth at risk for school drop out—thereby decreasing their chances of dropping out of high school and committing a crime. Project Arrive met all of its objectives in the first two years of implementation, including high proportions of students reducing their unexcused absences from school (28%) and students improving their school grades (48%). After just 2 years of implementation, SFUSD saw modest but statistically significant improvements in school attendance among identified 9th grade students, a period of time in which truancy is expected to increase for this group. In 2013, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded a five-year grant to expand Project Arrive’s reach, conduct empirical research on the effectiveness of group mentoring, and develop practical tools for other organizations to create group mentoring programs.
Identifying student participants:
Academic failure and truancy are two risk factors used in San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) Early Warning Indicators System (EWI). Developed in conjunction with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, the EWI identifies students who are at high risk of dropping out of school. The indicators are applied to students transitioning from the 8th to 9th grade, when youth experience major changes in school structure and in adult and peer relationships. For these students, shifts associated with declines in self-confidence and academic engagement can leave them vulnerable to drop out (Herrera et al, 2011).
Long term goals:
Project Arrive is designed to address the needs of youth experiencing this vulnerability. Inspired by promising research, SFUSD began in 2010-2011 to implement Project Arrive for an EWI-selected population at four public high schools to increase the resilience, GPAs, and attendance of these youth—thereby decreasing their chances of dropping out of high school and committing a crime. After eight years, Project Arrive continues to utilize group mentoring to help students stay engaged in their schools through developing meaningful relationships with mentors and peers, providing access to resources within their schools and communities, and developing academic and life skills to improve success. As a seminal school-based group mentoring program, Project Arrive is also helping researchers better understand how the program works as well as establish a base of best practices for group mentoring programs.