Stamping Out Obstacles to Achievement in Robla (SOAR)
In an effort to reduce the academic achievement gap in its five elementary schools, the Robla School District in Sacramento created a home visitation program called Stamping Out Obstacles to Achievement in Robla (SOAR). Sierra Health Foundation provided grant funding to help support the program in the 2009-2010 school year and continued funding for 2010-2011.
SOAR engages students and their families through three program components: Community Outreach, Effective Families/Parenting Workshops and Teacher Outreach. Through the Community Outreach component, Sierra Health Foundation funding supported an outreach worker to contact every African-American student in the district's five schools and meet with the family of every African-American student who is performing below basic or far below basic. During these visits, the emphasis is on creating student success in school, fostering connections between the child's school and the family and child, and creating an academic success network for each child. The Roberts Family Development Center is a partner in this work, providing support and technical assistance to the community outreach worker.
District-wide Effective Families/Parenting Workshops, which build cultural competency of school district staff, are held three times during the school year and are facilitated by the Roberts Family Development Center. Through the Teacher Outreach component, teachers at the five schools contact families of struggling students outside of the school day.
In the program's first year, the number of African-American families who attended school and community functions increased from 50 to 120. STAR student data for African-American students showed an increase of 5 percent in English language arts and 3 percent in math. It is anticipated that 2010 STAR results will show an even greater gain.