The Academy Project--Helping Foster Youth THRIVE!!

submission by theacademyproject

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

The Academy Project (TAP)

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


TAP will reinvent the 7-12 grade experience for foster youth in Los Angeles, providing a stable school placement through to graduation, changing their lives by unleashing their full potential

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


50% of the 21,000 kids in foster care in LA end up homeless, in gangs, institutionalized or in jail, with 8% having dropped out of school (3 x the statewide rate), due to frequent school changes. Starting in Grade 7, TAP is building a year-round, in-school solution that integrates individual needs & guarantees youth a consistent placement through high school. Within a community of peers, TAP provides a safe place where youth thrive & discover otherwise ignored talents and wasted potential.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

We are targeting South LA first as this is where the largest population of foster youth reside

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


California Standards Test (CST) results show the proficiency rate for the statewide student population to be 53% for English & 60% for Math, but only 29% & 37% respectively for foster youth. 75% of foster youth are working below grade level & only 58% will graduate high school (V’s 84% statewide).

The LA County Board of Supervisors Blue Ribbon Commission concluded “A State of Emergency exists. If we knew that 50% of all children in foster care end up homeless, or incarcerated upon aging out of the system & only 4% received any higher education, we would not tolerate such a negligent system.”

We are failing this population, our citizens for LA2050. The best place to learn is where every child has equal opportunity to succeed. TAP’s new, innovative education engagement model will achieve this. The LA2050 grant would allow us to bring the following design to life.

The Academy will start in Grade 7. A founding tenet is keeping school as the point of stability in a foster youth’s life. Students are guaranteed a tuition free placement through to completion of high school. The Academy will operate as a school-within-a-school, with an extended year round schedule providing the opportunity to participate in a variety of enrichment programs outside of class.

Students will be selected from a pool, created by self-submit applications & recommendations from experts (Social Workers, Lawyers, CASA). Engagement begins prior to the start of the school year, during a summer camp, focused on building trust & setting bi-directional expectations.

A comprehensive battery of tests will be completed (medical, dental, academic etc.) that will shape students’ individualized holistic plans. A licensed therapist will be matched with each student. Once the type & frequency of therapy sessions are prescribed, they will be included in each student’s plan, along with any required remediation & other appointments that would usually disrupt progress at school (e.g. court appearances).

The Academy will create a community for students, a home, with a core curriculum teacher & a site-based clinical social worker assigned to each class for the duration. After two years full time within The Academy, students will join mainstream high school. They will continue to have this ‘home’ for extra-curricular programs & support (therapy, tutoring, SAT preparation etc.).

TAP will ensure they graduate career & college ready & prepared to be well-rounded citizens for LA2050.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Our solution has been designed with input from former foster youth & experts in the field, including a study by Princeton University. Our Focus Groups have determined evaluation metrics across 2 areas:
Student: Individual baseline metrics established via tests applied on joining TAP. Academic proficiency & general well being will be monitored for improvement
School Community: Several recent studies (The Invisible Achievement Gap) have provided baseline metrics for LA’s foster youth. TAP will also work with Partner Schools to establish these. Targets: improve student attendance rates; totally eliminate transfer rates to alternative schools; reduce discipline & expulsion rates; increase CST participation rates & eventual scores; reduce drop-out rates; improve AP & CTE enrollment & passage rates; improve graduation rates; improve college attendance rates.
We are working to define other metrics related to improvement to life outcomes (unemployment, homelessness, future health & happiness)

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

33 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

This is such a great project which is clearly needed. This positive approach to helping a growing problem provides children with the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This is something that all Children deserve. Best of luck and continue with the great work.

by Jmills1983
5 months ago

This is such a great initiative. It will make an enormous difference to the lives of foster kids in LA if it can just get the funding it needs. These kids desperately need stability and support to keep on track at a time when their lives have been turned upside down and that is what this project offers. This initiative will give them the opportunity to fulfil their potential, which is something every child should have.

by Anitab17
5 months ago

What a wonderful program! It is so important for these foster kids to have a stable school experience.
Good Luck!!!!

by nancy4tennis
6 months ago

Great idea!!!! Best of luck!!!

by fall2015
6 months ago

Such an exciting and necessary program. Go Academy Project!!!

by Celia.
6 months ago

This project will have boundless impact Lauren!!! Thank you for fighting for these kids! We will keep all our fingers and toes crossed that The Academy Project gains all the support needed to make this come to fruition!!!! All our best.
~ Cherie

by themillercrew
6 months ago


by cmata66
6 months ago

Great idea!!!! Best of luck!!!

by fall2015
6 months ago

Well Done Lauren Costa!! Keep up the good work!!

6 months ago

A really worthwhile case. Well done to all those concerned with this project, keep up the good work.

by Wobbles
6 months ago

In a lot of ways I can relate to April!!! This is awesome! Well done to everyone who is behind this. I can't even begin to imagine what this initiative will do for these youths! Best of luck in all your endeavours!! Go TAP. Good luck for #LA2050

by Isa2
6 months ago


by laurabow
6 months ago

This is fantastic. So worth while. Good luck

by lorry
6 months ago

Well done TAP, this is a fantastic initiative! The animation is amaznig and quite an emotional story. I just want to help April, and #LA2050 should too! Well done on all your hard work so far, I can see this is something you are passionate about. Good luck for #LA2050 - You deserve it & LA deserves this project! Go TAP!

by Paul_Agile
6 months ago

Just changing one young persons future for the best is amazing. I hope you win the funding imagine how many other young lives you could help. Good luck!

by ThermalMan
6 months ago

What a massive difference this will make. Everyone knows kids need, as a bare minimum, stability, consistency and a sense of security. This project will provide these essential basics for the most vulnerable children. Please, give them a chance to shine.

by MrsCviii
6 months ago

My heart aches for these kids. The Academy Project is such an awesome initiative, making sure they get the focus, resources and commitment they need. Best of luck TAP!

by Clareb09
6 months ago

Thanks to everyone who is voting and adding comments!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Couldn't have said it better ourselves! Thank you Antiab17!!

by theacademyproject
5 months ago

Thanks for your support nancy4tennis!!!

by theacademyproject
5 months ago

Thank you for your support, fall2015!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so much for voting!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

So kind of you. Thanks so much for your support!!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so much for voting. Cori!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so much for your support, Wobbles!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so much,lsa2!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you for taking the time our of your busy day!!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so very much, lorry!! We really appreciate your support!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Paul_Agile, Thank you!!! We worked really hard on the animation. I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for supporting The Academy Project!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you for your support, ThermalMan!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thank you so very much for your support!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thanks, Clare! We appreciate your support more than you know!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

Thanks so very much Cherie!!! Give my love to the family!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015