This spring, the San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved Life Learning Academy’s charter renewal petition for a full five-year term. Board members expressed strong support for the school after reviewing the petition and hearing public testimony from LLA’s principal, one parent, and two alumni.
“Prior to attending Life Learning, I was very unmotivated because I didn’t think my middle school counselor and teachers believed in me,” Jessica Castro said during public testimony. “I felt lost, and had thoughts of dropping out.”
But at LLA, Jessica’s strengths flourished, her confidence grew, and her “outlook on life began to shift.”
“I fell in love with the school,” she explained to the commissioners. By receiving wrap-around support from LLA teachers, counselors, and peers, she “became empowered, motivated, and determined to succeed.”
Jessica is now pursuing an Economics degree at Mills College, and planning to pursue an MBA degree after graduating college.
LLA Principal Teri Delane expressed gratitude for the Board’s 15 years of support, and spoke about LLA’s ongoing dedication to improving the program to meet evolving student needs.
“We’ve discovered in the past couple of years that we, more and more, have kids that don’t have a home,” Delane explained, as she introduced LLA’s goal to open a residential program in the near future.
“We’ve taken it upon ourselves” to secure support for the expansion of LLA, Delane said, “for kids that need some place to live, thrive, grow, and feel a part.”
Fundraising efforts are already underway toward the establishment of this new LLA program offering, according to LLA Vice Principal Craig Miller.
“There are no public, non-fee residential education programs in California,” Miller said. “Our vision is to fill this gap, offering stable residence to some of the many homeless, disconnected youths in the Bay Area and beyond.”
LLA alumnus Alan Pickens, who addressed the commissioners, was once one of those disconnected teens.
“I was somebody who was very unmotivated, very challenged, I had no self confidence,” Alan remembered. “Things in my life have not always been easy.”
Pickens, who now works at Bose, testified that because of LLA, he accomplished “things in my life that I probably wouldn’t even have dreamed to be able to do.”
To help support the creation of a Life Learning Academy residential program serving Bay Area teens, visit our Donate page or contact Craig Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.