It’s All About Outcomes
Three Years into the Square One Project is yielding results.

Blog Stephanie McLemore Bray
April 2019 Blog Post

In 2016, our United Way made a promise to this region that we would end poverty starting at school through our Square One Project. This promise marked the scaling of our work to help more children achieve important milestones on their educational journey early on so that they are more likely to graduate from high school, college or career-ready. We announced our partnership with the Robla School District, the district with the highest poverty rate in Sacramento County.  We put every resource we could raise into keeping those kids in school, keeping them on track, setting high expectations for their success, and providing support for their families. We engaged the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and they have concentrated efforts into supporting teachers, families, and students in the Robla School District. Through strategies to improve teaching and learning, and by cultivating a school culture and climate that encourages excellence, SCOE is an active committed partner with our United Way and Robla.  

After nearly three years, the data is in: the Square One Project is working! According to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP):

  • In 2018 in the Robla School District, the annual increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in English Language arts was nearly TRIPLE the state and county averages compared to 2017 data that placed Robla nearly 20% below the state average and 15% below the county average.

  • In 2018 in the Robla School District, the annual increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in Mathematics was nearly TRIPLE the state and county averages compared to 2017 data that placed Robla 13% below the state average and 11% below the county average.

  • In 2017, chronic absenteeism in the Robla District was 15.8% compared to the state (11.1%) and the county (13.4%). In 2018, the rate of chronic absenteeism dropped by 26% and is on track to improve over the state and county average.

Additionally, the Robla School District has increased parent involvement through parent empowerment dinners, communication through a parent portal, electronic newsletters and social media. Through bilingual community outreach assistants, Latino, Hmong and Russian parents are able to stay connected to the school community. Our United Way is building relationships with the broader community to identify ways to sustain the Square One effect into the future.
I hope that as donors and supporters you are proud of our progress. As we have said all along, we cannot do this work without committed partners like you.

Big Day of Giving will soon be upon us. As you consider which of the many organizations you will support on that day, I ask that you include United Way. We rely on the generosity of donors to do our work. In turn, we invest those dollars as efficiently as we can to get outcomes that help change people’s lives.  

We also ask that you spread the word about our Square One Project. We want to take our success with the Square One Project and what we have learned to other potential school district partners. With your help, we can also engage other donors and supporters to invest with us in the success of kids in districts like Robla. 

Thank you for helping us honor the promise we made to the students, the families, and the community in the Robla School District.