We have been working collaboratively with our board, staff, and many other key stakeholders to determine SMART’s new direction over the next three years.We recognized our strengths in our core services, as well as the limitations in capacity and influence under our current model. Our goal to impact the larger community is the culmination of a lot of introspection, discussions with our closest partners, and careful appraisal of the San Francisco landscape.
Our 3-year strategic plan objectives are as follows:
- Serve a growing number of students and families
- Expand the reach of our programming
- Become leaders in school options, access and success
- Inspire students from low-income communities to graduate from college
OPPORTUNITIES & SOLUTIONS
Families need better access & empowerment to seek and enroll their students into schools of their choice. Due to capacity, we currently turn away over 75% of our applicants, many who erroneously believe SMART to be their last ditch effort to find quality education for their children. We believe SMART can be a catalyst to provide equal educational access to all families.
Offer more: We plan to offer a range of programming options, starting with our applicant pool, then expanding to existing partners, and then to the larger community. We have already begun this work through our school options and parent education series workshops.
With a recent move to a larger space and an increase in staff size, we want to meet the growing demand of families and partner schools.
Serve more: We will first expand the number of Scholars in our Core Program by both increasing initial cohort sizes at the 5th grade level, and utilizing our alternative entry points better to welcome more Scholars at all grade levels until we reach capacity. Outside of the core programming, we’ll roll out our wider audience workshops, better engage with SMART alumni in college, and push to be a known resource for families seeking aid in educational access.
SMART’s strength lies in our ability to build strong relationships with our key stakeholders, including families, organizations, volunteers and schools. We want to explore best to leverage the expertise of our growing community to more effectively support our Scholars, our staff, and volunteers and better communicate SMART’s successes and stories to a wider audience.
Do more: We are investing in a new database for metrics collection and analysis, integrating case management best practices into our advisory model, more effectively balancing social emotional vs. academic support to serve our Scholars, and offering professional development and training to our staff to be better champions all around. We have also utilized our 19-years of experience in recruitment, placement and support of low-income students in San Francisco and will continue to offer workshops and present at conferences to share best practices to educators. Our student advisory board, comprised of high school leaders also began exploring and offering workshops on how to best support First Generation College students.
The challenges San Francisco faces in inequitable access to quality education are greater than ever before, but we know we have the tools and the experience to make a real difference for low-income families. A shorter three-year plan allows us to focus on our commitment to be more effective as an organization, without compromising quality and give us the time to thoughtfully explore other opportunities for a greater community impact.
Explore more: We invested into a staff member whose specific role is to analyze the landscape, research opportunities, and develop a system to measure the impact of some of our big dream ideas. Potential opportunities for a greater impact include mid-touch programming opportunities that includes monthly workshops and expanding our summer program to exploring future aspirations to opening a public school site or expand geographically.
The privilege of being in a position to explore opportunities was made possible because of the incredible dedication of our supporters, not to mention the perseverance and determination of our students and families. We are honored to be stewards of this important work. We welcome your feedback and thoughts.