Advocates for College Education Success (ACES)
Research has shown that educational attainment significantly reduces recidivism. ACES was a pilot project, funded by the San Francisco Foundation, which aimed to improve the overall academic success and retention of 12 formerly incarcerated students who entered SF State through the University's Project Rebound. Books for the cohort group were donated by John Wiley & Sons Publishers, and author Anthony Raptis of SuccessMakers Publishing. Students completed a series of four “Urban Curriculum” classes which have been designed to meet general education requirements and improve their critical thinking and study skills.
Results: The overall goal of ACES was to have 50% of our cohort students successfully complete a series of four courses over one year. Overall, the purpose of the grant was met. Of the 12 cohort students who began classes in Coun 280 and Coun 325 last spring, 75% had earned A grades, and (80%) advanced to fall semester; 60% completed Math 124, earning grades of C or higher (3 A-Bs); and of the six (50%) who enrolled in English 114, the one student who completed that course earned an A.
Matriculation: 75% of the cohort have continued university studies.
One student won a National Science Foundation STEM Scholar award, and the one who completed Eng 114 has been asked by the instructor if he would be interested in collaborating with her on a paper about his experience to present at a national conference.
Service learning and community-based research: Students were most excited about courses that incorporated hands-on community service learning, which led to greatly increased self-esteem and prosocial behaviors. Many Rebound students mentor incoming peers and most of them enroll in community service learning courses and become actively engaged in their communities, where they demonstrate the positive impact education has had on their lives. Nearly all of the Rebound students become passionate advocates for prison reform and higher education programs.
One incoming student wrote, “Thanks for helping believe in me when no one else would, and for helping make my lifelong dream come true...Now is my chance to give back.”
ICCE is committed to educational equity and continues to partner with Project Rebound to reverse what the ACLU of Northern California calls "the pipeline to prison."