Investing in African American Student Outcomes in San Francisco

By: Lara Fox | Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Picture this:

More than 4,500 12th graders. Less than 250 of them African American.

In San Francisco today, that’s the reality. Less than 6% of the city’s population is African American, and that percentage has been diminishing. From a K-12 population of almost 9,000 African Americans in 2010, last school year just 4,200 African American students attended San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). And those in the Class of 2014 faced daunting outcome gaps: compared to district averages, this group of students was 23% less likely to graduate from high school and 16.5% less likely to enroll in college.

We believe those students deserve better. It is therefore uAspire’s distinct honor to share with you that Google has committed $1 million to Spark*SF Public Schools to fund the launch of uAspire Bay Area’s joint work with SFUSD on the city’s My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper (MBSK) initiative. Through this expansion of our partnership with the district, we will together ensure that the city’s African American youth have the financial information and resources needed to identify, pursue, and complete an affordable postsecondary education.

What is MBSK?

Led by SFUSD, the San Francisco Mayor’s office, and The San Francisco Foundation, MBSK aims to address the persistent opportunity gaps facing San Francisco’s young women and men of color. The cross-sector alliance began in October 2014, in response to President Obama’s call to action, and has brought together partners from the city, school district, business, and nonprofit communities. To date, more than 20 organizations have committed to providing one-on-one mentorship, academic enrichment, and college and career supports to San Francisco’s African American students.

How will uAspire contribute?

Thanks to Google’s support over the next three years, uAspire Bay Area will provide African American 12th graders and their families in all district high schools with comprehensive and personalized guidance on finding an affordable postsecondary education option. To achieve this, we will dedicate programmatic staff to exclusively focus on empowering this group of students and families across all 18 SFUSD high schools.

What do we aim to achieve?

Fundamental to the way uAspire works is that we tailor our advising services to the unique needs of each student and family as well as to populations that we predominantly serve—including students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and first-generation college-goers. We are thrilled to deepen our equity-minded approach with a focus within and across ethnic groups. Ultimately, with our MBSK work, we aim to reduce racial disparities in higher education attainment.

We and all our collaborators look forward to sharing learnings with others around the country who are also working to remove barriers to postsecondary success so that all our students can reach their full potential.


To learn about promoting positive outcomes for African American students — particularly those in the Bay Area who will be served through this work– we recommend starting with these resources: