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Upward Opportunities - A Pathway from Custody to College.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)

Like schools across the country, COVID prevention protocols affected Five Keys Schools and Programs' charter school in the San Francisco County Jail. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office was forced to close the “Education and Program Corridor,”—a section in San Francisco County Jail #3 that houses ten classrooms, which for the last 15 years has served as home to Five Keys’ charter school. At the same time, San Francisco greatly expanded the use of pretrial release, limiting the pool of prospective in-custody students. Five Keys current operations in the jails have also been limited recently by a shortage of sworn staff (deputies), needed to move students between housing units and classrooms.

Five Keys’ current process is to enroll students in Independent Studies and have them work in their housing units under the supervision and tutelage of a Five Keys teacher, severely limiting the number of students Five Keys can enroll. Independent Studies are ineligible for Mandatory Pell Reinstatement. There is no full-time staff member assigned to college-readiness, nor a physical location for classrooms.

Under this proposal Five Keys will expand and enhance its custody-based and post-release educational services, to include college readiness programming and the reopening of Five Keys’ custody-based classrooms (the Education and Program Corridor), to provide high-quality, standards-based academic programs to an additional 150 students and college-readiness and City College classes to an additional 100 individuals each year. Five Keys will also launch a mandatory Pell Reinstatement program that will expand the organization’s capacity to further identify and assist Pell-eligible students so that every eligible person who is in custody will have begun the application process, completing, or at least making progress towards the completion their FAFSA application and mandatory Pell reinstatement.

Five Keys’ objectives are to: 1) establish a pathway from custody to college; 2) Assist students to transform their identities from “criminal-justice involved” to “college and career-oriented;” and, 3) ensure that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students access the support that is earmarked for them through mandatory Pell reinstatement.

Five Keys’ deliverables are to re-open the Educations and Program Corridor, which will enable Five Keys to provide high school education for an additional 150 participants, and for CCSF faculty to provide classes 3 days a week. Five Keys will launch a mandatory Pell Reinstatement Program that will assist students to complete applications for FAFSA and Mandatory Pell Reinstatement before they leave custody.

Date Created: September 25, 2023