Shared by his teacher Cherie McNaulty at Glenn Dyer in Alameda County
"Hi, everybody. You know I failed third grade when I was a kid. The teacher told me that I was dyslexic. That carried with me for a long time growing up. I always thought I wasn’t smart or not smart enough. My thinking like this caused me to miss a lot of opportunities in life. I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. I was getting D’s and F’s, so I just quit. I’ve been in and out of jail ever since.
I never really tried to do something different because I was scared people would see how stupid I was. Then I got involved in this federal case and “Wow!” I’m looking at some time. I made a choice: It’s time to do something different and uses this time to do some good for myself.
I didn’t know where to start, so I started working out. I figured I got to start somewhere. Then this new Five Keys company took over the jails offering substance abuse, anger management, parenting classes, and even a chance at a high school diploma. I thought to myself, “Man, it’s good; I got time! I will give it my best shot anyway.”
Then we started out with this little test. I knew a little bit, but I was lost on a lot of it, so I just didn’t answer what I didn’t know. After that, the teacher started me pretty low. I didn’t let that bother me; I just kept pushin’.
After I finished a packet, I was like, “Wow! That wasn’t so bad.” I asked the teacher, “How much credit was that?” She was like, “One credit.” “One credit, and how many do I need?” She says, “Well, that depends on your transcripts, but it takes 180 altogether.”
I kind of got discouraged. Then my transcripts came back and I needed a whole lot of credits. Man, I really got discouraged then! I thought, “Man, forget this!” I was ready to quit again. I went back to the cell and thought about it. I thought and said to myself, “Man, if you don’t do this, you will keep failing in life and never have a chance at a good one.” I got up the next morning and said, “I ain’t no punk; I can do this!”
It’s funny, too, ‘cause my teacher really laid it out for me with those packets. She built me up from the bottom through them. As I started to get through them, my understanding of what I had to do in the next one became a lot easier. I was doing it all, too; learning math, how to write a paragraph and then an essay. It came really quick.
I started to get juiced ‘cause I wasn’t that dyslexic, stupid person anymore. I could do this stuff! "
FEATURING: Helena Li, Veronica Rodriguez, Kristin Saito, Kara Valle, and Clarece Weinraub
- 8 Things Principals Want to See in Your Classrooms
- How to Help Students Keep Jobs, Have Healthy Relationships, and Stay Out of Jail
- Off the Page: Standout ESL Curriculum with Kara Valle
- Feature Teachers: Meet Haydee Burrola, Ally De Natale, Ashlen Fierros, & the ACSO Staff
- 10 Things to Know About CAASPP Testing and OASIS Teacher Updates
- December/January PD Opportunities
- Turn Your Inbox Into a Powerful To-do List Five Keys Schools and Programs
Rachel Dalton, Steve Good, Kristin Saito, Noel Scott, Julia Seymour, and Clarece Weinraub
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About Steve Good
- How to Increase Student Achievement
- October Curriculum Updates
- Meet Your Academic Committee Teacher Reps!
- State Mandated Testing Coming to Five Keys
- October PD Opportunities
- Use Mindfulness to Increase Student Engagement
Last Spring, the School of Graphic Design at the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco offered to dedicate the "ID2 Strategies for Branding" class to rebrand Five Keys. I was blown away by their presentations and their level of professionalism. The students really captured our essence. I had a visceral reaction to some of them—my eyes were almost tearing up at the powerful images they came up with. Their background knowledge, research and ability to transfer that to designs that communicate the work we do was pretty spectacular.
Ultimately, we could only choose one. It was a difficult decision because we loved many. The original concept for our new logo began with Mia Jiang, and was finessed by team leader Celina Oh and the entire Team 24/7, especially by Pat Opattarakui and Jerry Chiang — a true collaborative effort. Today, I have versions of all the students’ design directions framed right outside my office to remind me of the incredible gift they gave to us and to all of our current and future students. Bold, hopeful, inspired, courageous, strong, powerful, driven, unique, innovative, renewed, fresh, imaginative, hard-working, smart and revitalized are just a few words to describe our new brand and reflect some of the attributes of our students and graduates.
Please let us know what you think of our new look and join me in thanking all the third-year AAU students who brought this new brand to fruition.
Five Keys’ team of teachers, programs staff, administrators and managers partner with dozens of community organizations to help our students become contributing members of their communities and continue their path of self-development beyond Five Keys.
The positive influence of our work extends beyond our students into their families and communities. Our students and clients include transitional aged youth (ages 16 and up) and adults, many of whom were failed by the traditional educational system. Some have involvement with the criminal justice system, but many others do not. It is incumbent upon us to reengage our students by delivering curriculum relevant to their experiences and providing comprehensive supports that address the challenges that previously hindered their ability to complete their education.
Since our inception as a charter high school in San Francisco’s jails in 2003, we have graduated
more than 2,000 students, and have shown that the state’s recidivism rate of 65 percent can be greatly improved upon with access to high-quality academic, vocational and therapeutic programs (a study found our graduates recidivated at 26 percent).
Our staff of 420 − delivering services in more than 80 locations in six California counties −
is reinventing the way adult education is delivered. Among our exciting innovations is a
state-of-the-art mobile classroom on a retired MUNI bus that travels into disenfranchised neighborhoods where students need educational access most; dual-immersion college
programs; and a first-in-the-nation college dormitory in a city jail.
With the support of our vast network of community and government partners we are redefining
the role of education in restoring communities.
We invite you to explore our new web site to learn more about Five Keys’ mission: to use Social and Restorative Justice principles to provide traditionally underserved communities the opportunity to restart their education with a focus on “Five Keys” to healthy lives: EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, RECOVERY, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY.
Your contribution to the Five Keys vision and mission is truly transformational.
On behalf of our staff and board of directors, welcome to the new Five Keys website.