The Partners Program was founded in 1986 by administrators and faculty at The College Preparatory School; in 2006 we became an independent nonprofit organization that resides on the College Prep campus. We enjoy deep and generous in-kind support from - and exciting links with - the College Prep community.
What makes Partners unique is that we are small (no full-time staff, no paid fundraiser), cost-efficient (making the most of College Prep's in-kind support), nimble (responding quickly to program needs), and committed collaborators (coordinating with others to stretch limited resources).
Our mission is to serve public education in Oakland, and we fulfill this mission in 6 ways, all of which are opportunities for support. We (1) operate a full-time, five-week, tuition-free summer academic and enrichment program for low-income public middle school students; (2) offer 8th graders in the summer program a fall workshop series to help them and their families identify and apply to high quality college preparatory high schools; (3) run a college counseling program for alumni of our middle school summer program; (4) partner with two public middle schools to provide after-school and Saturday tutoring support; (5) offer a 4-tier leadership development program for high school and college students; (6) convene city-wide meetings to seek expanded funding for educational services and to prevent duplication and overlap.
All of our programs explicitly promote college graduation as the gateway to financial self-sufficiency, a career of one’s own choosing, and the resources to give back to one’s family and community.
The “brilliant gem” of our program is the older-peer-to-younger-peer relationships that are intentionally at the center of our work. What you would see on most days when visiting Partners are adults serving as facilitators and guides, college students mentoring high school students, and high school students mentoring and tutoring middle school students. With a careful eye, the adults step back and help our leaders-in-training step forward.
The person or organization that might be most compelled to support our work or might find the most joy in doing so would (1) believe strongly in young people not just as students, but also as future leaders; (2) be moved by our older-peer-to-younger-peer model; (3) desire a strong ethic of collaboration among organizations and making the most of limited resources; (4) appreciate the ways in which in-kind support keeps us cost-efficient; (5) want to contribute to a small organization where each dollar makes a significant impact; and (6) wish to help the “middle band” of students on their pathways to college graduation - those students who work hard but are not academic superstars, and thus are at risk for falling through the cracks at their large public schools.