Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2), and the “Civic Engagement and Social Movements” class that integrates the program into an A-G credited course curriculum, create a peer-to-peer model of relationship building and information sharing. PASS-2 provides an engaging space for underserved students to access the resources, requirements and support that they need to succeed, thrive in school, and prepare for post-secondary opportunities. PASS-2 engages 30 student mentors annually at Castlemont and Fremont High Schools to facilitate workshops for 100% of 9th graders at their schools, and to offer restorative justice circles and one-on-one peer mentoring.
PASS-2 Peer Mentors provide information about A-G high school graduation and college entrance requirements, transcript literacy, course progression planning, resources available on campus, and personalized stories of overcoming academic struggles over the course of several workshops for 9th grade students to ensure that they have access to the information that they need to succeed in high school.
The PASS-2 academic peer education and mentoring program was originally created by OKF youth leaders in the REAL HARD program to address the lack of counselors in the district, which has a ratio of 600 students for every 1 guidance counselor. PASS-2 provides mentor training twice weekly for 30 students at Castlemont and Fremont high schools. PASS-2 is embedded into the OKF created course “Civic Engagement and Social Movements,” which is the only A-G credited leadership course in OUSD that qualifies as a college entrance requirement.
The course both supports the peer mentors to satisfy graduation requirements and access higher education, and offers successful academic peer mentoring support for 9th graders. The mentors are trained in facilitation, relationship and community building, public speaking, civic action projects, and classroom management. Those mentors, in turn, provide a series of workshops, a restorative justice community building circle, and additional one on one mentoring support.
The PASS-2 Program has been offered at a range of comprehensive high schools in the past including on the McClymonds, Oakland High School, Oakland Technical High School and Skyline campuses. For several years, PASS-2 program alumni facilitated high school transition workshops for middle school students to engage them before 9th grade to share information that would set them up for success in high school.
Oakland Kids First has been partnering with OUSD’s Student, Family and Community Engagement Office, All City Council youth governing board, and other community-based youth engagement organizations to advance a district-wide policy, the “Resolution to Increase Graduation Rates and Strengthen Student Access to A-G Completion through the Implementation of the Student Equity Credit Recovery and Prevention Program,” that would reach all OUSD high school students. This policy was developed to increase the number and quality of supports available for student academic success, and integrates best practices from the PASS-2 program, including peer mentoring, connecting students who are struggling with school resources, and methods to share information early and often with students.
For more information about the impact of the PASS-2 program on promoting college readiness and supporting youth leaders to contribute positively to their school campuses, read the PASS-2 Snapshot and PASS-2 Issue Brief published by Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities.