Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $4,641,134)
Statement of the Problem: The proposed project will focus on enhancing the emotional and physical security of students attending high-needs schools in SFUSD. The district supports 64 elementary schools and 27,450 students overall in grades K-5. The SFUSD population is diverse: 27% are English learners (speaking 44 different languages), 61% are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 30% are Individualized Education Plan (IEP) recipients, and 41% identify as Asian, 23% Latino, 11% White, 10% African American, and 10% mixed race. Demographics vary widely by school, however; neighborhoods in the southeast sector of SFUSD include communities with a higher proportion of African American (e.g., up to 26%) and Asian (e.g., up to 57%) students, high incidence of community violence, and disproportionate special education placements and disciplinary actions based on student race/ethnicity.
Community violence is particularly devastating, resulting in ongoing and historic trauma. According to the Violence Policy Center (2015), the leading cause of death in youth ages 15-24 in San Francisco is homicide, with a rate (19.9 per 100,000) more than double that of the state average (7.6 per 100,000). In 2013, nearly 30% of homicide victims in the city were youths, and of the 22 youths murdered that year, almost two thirds (64%) were African American.
San Francisco also contends with high rates of family violence. In 2011, a total of 2,066 domestic violence cases were forwarded to the District Attorney, representing a 10% increase from 2010. Also that year, calls to crisis lines increased by 47%, and 29% more shelter nights were provided to survivors. Furthermore, of 6,025 referrals for child abuse and neglect, 659 cases were substantiated, with the most prevalent cases due to neglect (52%), emotional abuse or caretaker incapacity (each 12%), or physical abuse 11% (Family Violence Council, 2011).
Unfortunately, many of the citys youth become involved in gangs, perhaps in an effort to find a sense of safety and community. In 2011, one out of every eight 11-graders reported involvement in organized street gangs, primarily concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. In addition, a disproportionate proportion of Juvenile Probation referrals are for African American (52%) and Latino (28%) youth compared with White (7%) youth, and booking rates also disproportionately impact African American (59%) and Latino (24%) youth relative to White (6%) youth (San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, 2014). ca/ncf