Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts Bolster Academic and Financial Aid Advising at a Critical Time for High School Seniors

Sept. 21, 2020

Contact: Claire Callahan, 415.655.4405 



Stupski Foundation announces investments to support counseling across 13 high schools for over 3,000 12th-grade students facing tough challenges in pursuing college in the midst of the pandemic


SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21, 2020 – At a time when high school seniors are navigating their college and career options during the pandemic, today the  Stupski Foundation announced nearly $5 million in student advising grants to community-based organizations that partner with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The investments will bolster academic and financial aid advising across 13 high schools.


Jennifer Nguyen, Director of Postsecondary Success, Stupski Foundation

“Philanthropy has an obligation to support students in this moment, especially students of color who are most impacted by this crisis—deepening existing inequities,” said Jennifer Nguyen, director of postsecondary success at the Stupski. “We must ensure first-generation college-goers, students of color, and students from low-income households can enroll, persist through, and graduate with the skills they need to pursue their career goals.” 


The funds will support partnerships between each school district’s central offices and community-based organizations—including 10,000 Degrees, Center for Educational Partnerships, and uAspireto support college, financial aid, and career counseling. While students at each high school will have access to the advising services, the efforts will focus primarily on supporting over 3,000 12th-grade students, including approximately 1,700 students of color who have access to fewer resources and are often the least represented in college admissions. Additionally, the districts will use the investment to work with their partners to provide more uniform professional development, student targeting, and data sharing to coordinate their efforts. 


Since the pandemic began, 10,000 Degrees, Center for Educational Partnerships, and uAspire have adapted to serve students by quickly shifting advising online and offering support for students’ physical and mental health that extend beyond the organizations’ regular focus. For example, 10,000 Degrees redoubled their near-peer support program, virtualized their college and financial aid curriculum, expedited scholarships, and they are continuing to find innovative ways to keep their students engaged and on track to graduate. uAspire updates its COVID-19 Student Resources page regularly with answers to questions for students with financial and immigration documentation concerns. Each organization plans to continue with more flexible, online support after the pandemic ends. 


Chaney Saephan, DCAC East Bay Regional Manager

“As a regional manager, I see the impact that our Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC) College Adviser Fellows have on their students and the college-going-culture at their school. With students learning remotely this fall, the funding support from Stupski will be vital to our ability to continue providing quality college advising services to low-income and first-generation students. As an OUSD alum, I am thrilled for the opportunity to deepen our impact in my community!” said Chaney Saephan, DCAC East Bay regional manager.


In San Francisco, Mark Heringer, principal at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, also sees the potential for impact from this initiative. “We at TMAHS rely heavily on the work that our CBOs do to support our students with everything from college admissions to support with their dual enrollment classes and help with personal statements, just to name a few. With that said, we are also reliant on the work and support our college ambassadors provide our students. The connection that these young adults as ambassadors bring to their work and relationships with our students are invaluable. They provide a model of what college-bound students look like and how to be successful in those spaces.”


The 13 participating high schools are: 


In Oakland Unified School District:


Castlemont High School

Fremont High School

McClymonds High School

Oakland High School

Oakland Technical High School

Skyline High School*


In San Francisco Unified School District:


Balboa High School

Burton High School*

Downtown High School

Ida B. Wells High School

Lincoln High School

Marshall High School

San Francisco International High School


*Denotes UAspire partnership that existed prior to Stupski funding


The two districts project over 3,000 high school seniors will receive college admission advising and support each year through these investments. The maps below show the number of seniors who we project will have access to these services at each of the participating schools. As schools continue to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, Stupski will work with the districts and their community-based organization partners to see what is feasible and adapt to student and administrative needs as they arise. 


Click to enlarge each map.  


As these schools and their community-based organization partners integrate new advising supports and adapt to students’ changing needs throughout this crisis and into recovery, they will meet regularly to share new approaches and brainstorm ways to address shared challenges. These convenings are a part of the Navigation Learning Collaborative created by this cohort of Stupski grantee partners and offer space for participants to discuss the challenges associated with COVID-19, distance learning, statewide budget cuts, and more.  


This investment marks Stupski’s second grantmaking strategy in its postsecondary success portfolio. Together with OUSD, SFUSD, and the districts’ community-based organization partners, Stupski is committed to supporting high school students through this challenging time so that they can access a college education and jobs that will shield them from future economic, health, and environmental crises. 



The Stupski Foundation is collaborating with community partners to invest all of our assets within the next nine years to address some of the Bay Area’s and Hawaiʻi’s biggest challenges so that one day everyone can benefit from the wealth of opportunities and resources in the places we call home. Learn more about Stupski’s work.