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City Heights Partnership for Children announces key focus areas

The City Heights Partnership for Children is identifying the hurdles children face and using best practices to help City Heights youth succeed in school and life.

The partnership is managed by United Way and has more than 80 community organizations working together.

“By moving from disconnected youth support systems and programs to focused Collective Impact involving the entire community, we’ve created a framework that can be used throughout San Diego County,” said Executive Director Tad Parzen.

The partnership is beginning its work with City Heights, and, as other communities are ready, this framework will be used to create sustainable, scalable efforts around the entire region.

“It’s not about just helping one student or family, but about improving entire neighborhoods -- with schools at the center and everybody’s participation,” Parzen said.

It recently released the “City Heights Starting Point: Baseline Report,” which culminates two years of work with the community. Teachers and students, parents and cultural brokers, doctors and employers, nonprofits and philanthropists collaborated to determine the issues that matter most and collected data to understand what works well and what needs improvement.

It found that more than 21 percent of mothers are not receiving health care in the first three months of pregnancy (2011); in the 92105 ZIP code, the majority of children spend little to no time in child care centers or preschools (2011); 50 percent of third graders scored proficient or above on the language arts and English California Standardized Test (2013); more than 50 percent of seventh graders are at health risk or need improvement (2011-12 school year); 30 percent of eighth graders scored proficient or above on the Algebra 1 California Standardized Test (2013); nearly one-third of elementary school students in City Heights are chronically absent (2013); nearly 70 percent of 10th grade students passed the California High School Exit Exam for English language arts, leaving 31 percent behind schedule (2013); and slightly more than half of Hoover High School graduates are not enrolled in two- or four-year colleges (2012).

Based on its findings, the key focus areas will be to: increase prenatal care, increase early care and education, decrease childhood obesity, increase third grade school achievement, increase eighth grade school achievement, improve chronic absenteeism, increase graduation readiness and increase post-secondary enrollment.

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