Partner Spotlight: Monarch School, homelessness

Months ago we had the opportunity to meet the good people who run the Monarch School in Barrio Logan next to downtown San Diego, a school whose mission is to educate students impacted by homelessness. Their beautifully designed new K-12 campus is busy and full; parents dropping off their kids, P.E. classes in the gym, students playing basketball outside, classes working in the garden, and students working in projects facilitated by teachers in every corner. The campus doesn’t feel like a school, but more like an innovation design studio or a hip co-working space. 

Research suggests that there are over 23,000 homeless students in San Diego County, and 3/4 of them will not receive a high school diploma. The Monarch School is a beacon of light in the midst of those hopeless statistics, and their faculty and staff are deeply committed to providing everything a student and their family needs to survive and thrive in a new life. 

Since the first week of the YouSchool’s existence, we’ve been working with at-risk populations in diverse environments. From Boys & Girls summer programs near the U.S.-Mexico border to inner-city high schools, we’ve been able to show evidence that our social-emotional programs have significant on important things like attendance, GPA, graduation rates, and college acceptance. We’ve learned that under-served people 

Early in September, we were invited by the leadership of Monarch to work with their high school students through their personal growth planning for the academic year, inviting them to think through what paths they might take the five years after graduation. We trained their teachers and staff through our Life Guide training program, walking through a framework for maximizing the social-emotional impact an adult can make on a teenager’s life. Now, we’re training one of their veteran teachers to serve as an ongoing YouSchool Guide to eventually take each high school student who enrolls in the school to walk through our in-depth Life Script program and be supported each week by our homeroom curriculum. 

The students at Monarch have an opportunity to unpack and understand the circumstances and story of their lives up to now and find hope and meaning in their future stories. Their teachers, staff, and leaders are giving us fresh inspiration as they go all-out for these kids and their families. They’re spending extraordinary effort, time and money for these kids to alter the trajectory of their lives, and we’re privileged to partner with them. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Monarch School and perhaps find ways you can invest in the work they’re doing, go to www.monarchschools.org 

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