Education-Based Incarceration Program Graduates 500th Student

Education-Based Incarceration Program Graduates 500th Student At Pitchess Detention Center - KHTS News - Santa Clarita Over two dozen graduates from the Education-Based Incarceration program received their high school diplomas during a ceremony at Pitchess Detention Center Wednesday, including the 500th student to graduate since the introduction of the program in 2012.

Posted by: Michael Brown, KHTS Hometownstation.com
August 8, 2019.

Officials at Pitchess Detention Center held a graduation ceremony for students who had earned their high school diplomas through Five Keys Charter Schools as part of the Education-Based Incarceration program.

“We know it was not always easy,” said Kimberly Mendendorp, who serves as a principal for Five Keys Charter School, during the ceremony. “We are so proud of your accomplishments.”

During the ceremony, graduates had the opportunity to hear from Joshua Baker, who graduated from the Five Keys program in 2014.

“Finally finishing high school was the breakthrough I needed in my life,” Baker said.

Baker, who had been addicted to methamphetamine for 15 years, now works as a certified welder while taking classes to get his Associate’s degree in communication, as well as reconnecting with his son, who he had not seen for five years.

“You all deserve a life outside of these walls,” Baker told the graduates. “But that life will require hard work and sacrifice.

Students can earn their diplomas in a timespan ranging from a few months to three years, depending on how many high school credits they have going into the program.

“This is a great way to achieve all the goals you want out of life,” said Robert J. Olmsted, assistant sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “This is a good basis to help get you started.” 

Over two dozen graduates from the Education-Based Incarceration program received their high school diplomas during a ceremony at Pitchess Detention Center Wednesday, including the 500th student to graduate since the introduction of the program in 2012.

Many officials echoed the sentiment of Olmsted, stating that the moment served not as an ending, but a beginning.

“It’s what you do with this diploma that is going to define the next era of your life,” said Shanley Rhodes, chief of in-custody programs in Los Angeles for Five Keys.

Many of the graduates said they were planning on seeking to further their education now that they have their high school diplomas.

“I want to further my education and go to college,” said David Enriquez, one of the 26 graduates who received their diploma Wednesday. “I don’t know what I want to take yet, but I for sure want to further my education and make this worthwhile and not just let it go to waste.”

Other graduates said they are planning to take their diplomas and start learning a trade that they can turn into a career.

“Now that I have this diploma, I’d like to further my education and go to a technical school and learn a mechanics trade,” said William Poole, a graduate who hopes to gain a career in the automotive mechanics industry.

One graduate, Oscar Lopez, got the opportunity to speak at the ceremony about how much this milestone meant not only to himself, but to his mother.

“This program has been the training wheel I needed beside my mom,” Lopez said. “Thank you for being here and helping us give my mom a present: my high school diploma.”

Lopez’s mother told those in attendance that she had stayed up until 4 a.m. because she was so excited, even clearing a space on a wall in her home for Lopez’s diploma.

“See Mom?” Lopez said. “It’s never too late for your son to improve himself.”

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Visionary’s Programs Transform Inmates’ Lives In & Beyond San Francisco County Jail

KPIX CBS SF BAY AREA. July 31, 2019
by Sharon Chin

“Traditional incarceration was about playing cards and dominoes, watching really bad TV and never taking the time to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘My God, what have you done?'” said Schwartz.

She came across a disturbing case in the 1980s: a child molester who was set to get out of jail in two weeks, who was promising to re-offend, and he did. After that, she set out to find new ways to help inmates come out of jail better than when they entered.

As Program Director under former San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey in the 1980s, Schwartz and he co-founded several programs to change lives.

“Restorative justice is about making it right and including everyone impacted by violence and other crime,” Schwartz said.

One program, Resolve to Stop the Violence Project, or R.S.V.P., in 1997, did something radical each week. It put inmates face-to-face with violent crime survivors.

“It’s an opportunity for the men and women in our program to stand in the shoes of those who’ve been violated for the first time hearing the horrible impact of their crime,” she said.

Schwartz also founded Five Keys Schools and Programs in 2003, the first high school within a jail that’s since expanded into dozens of jails and communities California.

Five Keys serves 4,000 people a day. It’s awarded more than 2,800 high school diplomas or GED equivalents. The comprehensive programs are models for the nation, according to Five Keys executive director Steve Good.

“We could cite the facts–reduction in violent crime by 80%–recidivism rates for our graduates around 30%, compared to statewide averages of 65% or so,” said Good.

The opportunities to learn give hope to the inmate who calls himself Sleepy Hollow.

“Learning is a personal achievement that makes you feel worthwhile of being alive in the first place,” he said.

Current sheriff Vicki Hennessy credits Schwartz’s determination.

“She’s a force of nature. She’s a visionary. She has a lot to say, she has a lot of ideas,” Hennessy said. “She doesn’t give up.”

So for pioneering programs that transform the lives of inmates in San Francisco County and beyond, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Sunny Schwartz.

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Success Story - Student Matthew Gonzalez Shares Graduation Message of Hope

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! "

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The B.I.T.E. | December/January 2018 Podcast

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FEATURING: Helena Li, Veronica Rodriguez, Kristin Saito, Kara Valle, and Clarece Weinraub

  • Introduction
  • 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

Welcome to the new Five Keys Website and Brand

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.

Team 24/7 design students: Celina Oh, Mia Jiang, Gloria Sukamto, Pat Opattarakui, Jerry Chiang,  Terry Hsu, and Xin Du     Team Eight Bees design students: Pauline Capote, Yvonne Anaya, Yijun Lin, Katarina Gentry, Apirat Norapong, Jiaxin Xie, Dan He, and Louise Yang

Team 24/7 design students: Celina Oh, Mia Jiang, Gloria Sukamto, Pat Opattarakui, Jerry Chiang, 
Terry Hsu, and Xin Du

Team Eight Bees design students: Pauline Capote, Yvonne Anaya, Yijun Lin, Katarina Gentry, Apirat Norapong,
Jiaxin Xie, Dan He, and Louise Yang

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.

Team 24/7 leader Celina Oh at the final presentation

Team 24/7 leader Celina Oh at the final presentation

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Steve Good
Executive Director
 

Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of AAU and Steve Good, Executive Director of Five Keys

Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of AAU and Steve Good, Executive Director of Five Keys

And the winner is...it's a tie. The tie-breaker came a week later and Team 24/7's logo was selected, combined with many elements of the brand from Team Eight Bees.

And the winner is...it's a tie. The tie-breaker came a week later and Team 24/7's logo was selected, combined with many elements of the brand from Team Eight Bees.

Team Eight Bees ad campaign "#learningtolive" with Apirat Norapong

Team Eight Bees ad campaign "#learningtolive" with Apirat Norapong

Apirat Norapong

Apirat Norapong

Ovations...bravo!

Ovations...bravo!