Kyle Halle-Erby at San Francisco International High School Wins New America Fellowship for Span Program – Woot!
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
The goal of ACE Learning Centers is to support the success of continuing education students in the Bay Area. That success is due to the teachers and administrators who implement each Learning Center’s program and do the work, so this announcement is special.
Kyle Halle-Kerby, Span Program Director at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS), won a New America California Fellowship that, as he says, will “amplify the work I’ve been doing at SFIHS.”
What is Span and how does it work? As part of SFIHS’s Continuing Education Program, Span supports high-risk graduates through their first year of college and/or an early college program while still at SFIHS. These programs provide advocacy, academic counseling, internship programs, and leadership development for SFIHS students and graduates enrolled full-time in college. Span students have unique academic, administrative and cultural challenges as newcomer immigrants, English learners and first-generation college students on a university campus. These students can face significant barriers to college achievement, and Span builds college and career pathways for them.
Span offers ongoing peer-to-peer support as well as group and individual advice with program staff. It promotes college retention, academic success and leadership development. Importantly, Span Fellows (chosen SFIHS graduates attending college) take on leadership roles as mentors to current SFIHS students in a paid program. (Check out previous ACE Spectrum blogs about some of these tutors and mentors.) The leadership training Span Fellows receive is from Halle-Erby and other SFIHS staff, and supports current Span Scholars on their campuses.
What is the New America California Fellowship? The organization, New America, is a non-profit that calls itself a “think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity and purpose in the Digital Age.” Founded in 1999 and based in Washington, D.C., it identifies and nurtures thinkers, researchers, academics, and writers. Through fellowship financial and community support, Fellows can develop and implement their ideas and policies at local, state and international levels. One of the policy areas it supports is Education Policy.
Halle-Erby was chosen because of his work with Span. The stats are that 90 percent of SFIHS students graduate, and 90 percent of its graduates go on to college. Much of that success is because the Span program supports its students in college, and requires Span Fellows to return to SFIHS to mentor upcoming graduates to attend college.
Another innovative program is the Continuing Education program for English learners. This program offers flexible school hours and independent study for students who cannot attend regular school hours because of work requirements. Oakland Unified School Distruct’s support for this program resulted in a larger campus for SFIHS to accommodate its growing student population and education processes. The school will be moving shortly after school’s out May 26.
Halle-Erby will grow his Span program work coordinating internship experiences for students, early college opportunities and a college retention program.
“My goals in the short term are to pull together community partners and stakeholders to develop materials and technical writings to share with other places who are seeking to do similar work with English learners,” he said in an interview with Amaya Garcia, senior researcher in the Education Policy program as New America. “I would also like to do some reflective writing with students and their families to showcase the human story around this work.”
We at ACE congratulate Halle-Erby on his New America California Fellowship, and look forward to working with him and the rest of the team at SFIHS in their support of students in need of continuing education.