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Hacker Hub (Urban Ed Academy)

Transform an existing liquor store into a STEM-based learning center and workforce housing for teacher candidates of color in San Francisco.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Students with heightened needs enroll in Urban Ed Academy Saturday programming. This enrollment also gives students access to the Hacker Hub and the programming led by UEA and community partners. Neighborhood teachers, in exchange for deeply discounted neighborhood housing, offer their teaching expertise to help students at the Hacker Hub. This allows teachers to live in the neighborhoods where they work, thereby increasing opportunities to strengthen relationships with students.

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

Erase a liquor store from the neighborhood. Replace it with a learning center and housing that allow teachers to live closer to schools and the communities they serve.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Urban Ed Academy. We serve elementary school boys of color in San Francisco, California.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

Yes--this is a new project for Urban Ed Academy.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

Boys of color in San Francisco need more targeted support early in their educational journeys. 9 out of 10 African American students are not proficient in math in one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Bayview Hunter's Point has the largest share of African American students in the city.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Construction starts in July 2017 and the learning center should be open before the end of the year. Key next steps are building out a strong partnership network of community-based organizations to provide quality programming in the site; identifying and vetting teacher candidates to occupy the housing space; establishing relationships with target families in the neighborhood; securing reliable communication pathways into households; creating an evaluation/assessment plan.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

Randy Seriguchi, Jr. is the Executive Director of Urban Ed Academy (UEA). He has over 5 years of advocating on behalf of communities of color in the education space at the national, state, and local levels. He has studied the laws and policies that need to change to make an idea like this obsolete.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Team/Leadership Model

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Better understand my user or community

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

Over 3 years, increase specified diversity among SFUSD teachers in Bayview Hunter’s Point by 50% by recruiting 50 additional male teachers of color and securing workforce housing for them. Increase attendance for 3 out of 4 students; 4 out of 5 students will increase academic performance; 2 out of 3 students will experience a decrease in disciplinary actions and suspensions. Activate 50 families of color to influence budgetary decisions related to the teacher selection and assignment at SFUSD.

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

We have to be very intentional around building manageable expectations for the teachers that live on site and the culture shift of a neighborhood corner that was a liquor store for 6 decades and will now be a place that serves children instead of adults. We need a very strong partner to help broker relationships between our organization and community members that frequent that area currently.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

1. Effectively serving as a landlord brings all of the attendant concerns that come with rental property management. We have yet to secure a partner to handle that management. 2. Managing/improving the quality and consistency of communication between teachers and households will require a lot of attention. 3. Inspiring 50 homeowners to make similar arrangements for deeply discounted teacher housing will take at least 2 years. Managing that outreach campaign will be complicated.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

This project is bigger than just better academic gains. Given the nexus between education and economic mobility, it's critical that we secure a base-level of educational competency in these students as part of a sustainability strategy around stabilizing this neighborhood. The likelihood of residents of this neighborhood staying or moving back to live here and grow the local economy is higher than some outsider doing it. Additionally, with the gentrification issues in full flight for the city of San Francisco, it's important that we make every disruptive effort to maintain and grow the population of the historical inhabitants of this neighborhood: African American families. In 1970, the city of San Francisco had a peak population of African Americans at 88,343 or 13.4% of the city. By 1990, that number had dwindled to 76,434 or 10.9% of the overall population. In 2016, that number has plummeted to approximately 46,000 or about 5% of the city's population. Most of these families live in public housing in suboptimal conditions for raising children. There are plenty of factors contributing to the "flight" of African American families--from systemic racism to extreme poverty to unemployment--but the most palpable factors are economic in nature. With a fraction of the income earned by other groups in the city, grave underrepresentation in local industries and job titles, and higher levels of dependency on government programs, the African American community in San Francisco is one of the first that could statistically "disappear" from a major U.S. city within our lifetimes at the current rates of outmigration. We believe our best long term strategy for combating this trend is radically changing educational outcomes and incentivizing homegrown talent to make San Francisco their home. Research strongly supports the importance of having highly effective teachers be a part of that equation. While factors outside of the four walls of the classroom have derailed the progress made within the classroom, the largest lever of control that we have outside of the home rests with running school systems. Well over 85% of a school's budget is dedicated to staffing, which gives us our first area to target for disruptive practice in education and neighborhoods: changing how we recruit and deploy teachers. In a place like San Francisco, where the majority of teachers can't afford to live in the city where they work, housing is the best incentive to offer teachers. We've received feedback on this idea from a range of stakeholders--potential teacher candidates, current teachers, principals, district central office staff, parents, funders, and other community-based organizations--and the consensus wish-list item for attracting high level talent into the city to teach would be an economic boon like subsidized housing. Mayor Ed Lee recently announced a commitment of $44 million towards the development of a teacher housing structure of 135 units ( With approximately 4,000 teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District--arguably all of whom should live in the 800,000+ person city--135 units is only a mere 3.3% of coverage. We need much more than that if we're going to have our educators more available for our students by being their neighbors as well as their teachers. In a city that carries a 62.2% higher cost of living than the U.S. average, we won't be able to simply spend our way out of this. Sacrifice and volunteerism--characteristics embedded in this city's fabric--must accompany our efforts to create equity in this issue. This project is a pilot for that effort. In becoming a proof point for a strong direct correlation between student academic gains and increased teacher occupancy in neighborhoods, a city with an approximate $10 billion budget in the 2017-18 fiscal year and a school district with a projected total budget of over $800 million in the 2017-18 school year will be forced to look at the data and reconsider this housing crisis. Throw in a statewide teacher shortage to the equation and the data becomes even more interesting. If we can pay to house public service employees to kill our enemies (soldiers), why would we not pay to pay public service employees to develop our future talent?

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

In addition to presenting this data to the city and school district, we will also present to the community through our partnerships to spur activity like our own: if our non-profit is willing to house 5 teachers, can any of you house just one? According to data from March 2016 of Airbnb listings, there were 9,448 active listings available then--or in other words, 9,448 options for a person to sleep in San Francisco for a night. This number only includes people who actually want money in exchange for a place to stay. What about the folks who want to be philanthropic and who have never thought to open their 4 bedroom home to anyone besides themselves? With city-funded teacher housing not set to come online until 2020, some short term activism needs to happen to bring our teachers into the city. We feel this project will do that and have the information to justify why it's worth the cost--leveraging a teacher shortage and housing crisis to curate strategic additions to a neighborhood to serve students in danger of being left behind. At an approximate $700,000/year cost and a projected 250 students served, we're expending less than $3,000 extra per student for radical shifts in academic trends. For context, the average annual cost per student in the city is approximately $10,000 and the average annual cost per youth in the juvenile system is $200,000. It has been an incredible opportunity to go through this Open IDEO process of design thinking, user and community interaction, and access to global collaboration. We've made great progress towards fund development for the opening of the site this fall and programming at the site/workforce housing for the school year. Having a continued connection to resources through the IDEO network and the GHR Foundation would be a tremendous honor, but if that doesn't happen, we also look forward to sharing what we learn at the end of Year 1.

Create a blended public-private partnership that implements a recruitment and retention strategy to place more men of color into San Francisco's teacher pipeline as a means of: (1) moving more male teachers of color into the city; (2) forming a school-to-success pipeline for male students of color in the city (the worst performing student group); and (3) shifting the narrative of what "affordable housing" is in one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States.

The centerpiece for this strategy is the transformation of an existing liquor store into a useful piece of neighborhood geography for students of color and the teachers that serve them. This place-based strategy seeks to disrupt the cycle of cost-prohibitive housing for a class of professionals that the community needs to have locally based in order to overcome the large deficits in academic performance for one of the city's most vulnerable student populations.

Explain your idea

Urban Ed Academy seeks to implement a multi-layered approach to improving educational and life outcomes for boys of color in San Francisco. By transforming current real estate in an impoverished neighborhood to be more beneficial for students, the space can be reimagined to bring more specific talent into the community. This pilot should function as a model for the city to adopt in broader teacher recruitment and retention strategies in the wake of persistent diversity gaps in teacher-student populations, a historic statewide teacher shortage, and a cost-prohibitive housing market bubble that precludes the salary range of teachers from living within the community. Every great city has great schools. Every great school has great teachers. Logically, then, every great city must have great teachers. Great teachers must be accessible, present, and sympathetic to the needs of their students. In a city like San Francisco, California, racial and economic equity issues cloud the city's ability to create opportunities for teachers to live and work there. This idea advances racial equity by enhancing the network of teachers that are racially and culturally reflective in the communities in which they work, thereby reducing implicit bias in the classrooms. This advances economic equity by providing workforce housing for teachers that increase net incomes that allow teachers to remain in San Francisco. Provide professional development workshops that increase cultural competence and restorative justice practices among teachers. This decreases suspension rates and disrupts the school to prison pipeline. In sum, by subtracting a universally negative commercial presence from the neighborhood and adding universally positive presences in productive human capital (teachers) through subsidized workforce housing, we believe we can extend sustainable educational supports to students in one of the most depressed neighborhoods in the region.

Who Benefits?

Bayview Hunters Point is located in southeast San Francisco. After the development of a thriving African American community, poverty and crime plagued the area over the years. In the 1980s, Bayview Hunters Point was devastated by the rise of drugs and dangerous weapons. Today, the socioeconomic and health indicators of its residents are among the most depressed in the nation. In a 2 year window, directly serve 250 students and their families in partnership with community organizations in San Francisco. They will have increased access to teachers in the neighborhood, the educational leaders and experts we need to dig us out of this achievement gap. Our strategy to make this effort culturally reflective of the neighborhood also changes school climate, creating a more welcoming, safer, and understanding environment for learning.

How is your idea unique?

Similar initiatives do not target male teachers of color specifically as a means of supplementing gender imbalances that exist in Bayview Hunter's Point. Urban Ed Academy's specific advantages include funding from the city ($200,000), funding from a major technology company ($100,000 from Google), an extended web of cross-sector partnerships throughout the city, and trust within the specific community served (over 750 boys of color already served in 7 years). To our knowledge, no other non-profit of comparable size is seeking to make the systems-level change we want to address. The school district is the sole entity working to recruit teachers/teaching professionals to the city and needs all the help it can get.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

Based in San Francisco, California, Urban Ed Academy provides educational services that help elementary school boys of color succeed academically and prevent interaction with juvenile justice system. We are committed to improving the quality of life in communities of color in San Francisco by eliminating the achievement gap in education. We believe increased cultural representation in elementary school teachers improves outcomes. Urban Ed Academy (“UEA”) has served over 750 elementary school boys of color and their families in San Francisco since 2010. Our primary platform for services has been our Saturday Academy, which began as our solution for reclaiming as much of the nearly 300 instructional hours lost per academic year for boys of color. This loss of learning correlates directly to boys of color being amongst the lowest performing students in the city, which is a significant contributing factor to the school to prison pipeline. In addition to carving out another day of learning per week targeting this specific student population, UEA uses a culturally reflective staffing model, employing men of color to engage with our boys on Saturdays and during the school week. Our approach is backed by research and evidence-based practices in achieving equitable academic outcomes—black students in particular have shown greater academic gains when paired with a black teacher. Our approach has also yielded positive results for our boys: 4 out of 5 boys in our program improve academic performance. Currently, less than 2% of all SFUSD teachers are African American men. The glaring cultural incongruence between our boys and their teachers has contributed to African American boys in SFUSD being overrepresented in suspensions, chronic absenteeism, and disciplinary referrals. UEA seeks to further advance racial equity by enhancing the network of teachers that are racially and culturally reflective in the communities in which they work through translating our staffing model to teacher recruitment efforts during this statewide teacher shortage. Given the constitutional restrictions of Prop 209 on race-based public spending, we push targeted staffing as a 3rd party nonprofit. This school year, UEA has formally partnered with SFUSD to provide cultural competency training for current staff; we will expand that training for incoming teachers and colleagues who work alongside those teachers at our area schools. Direct programming content will be provided in tandem with a network of community-based organizations in the neighborhood through a collective called Black to the Future, which is comprised of groups that serve in the areas of health and wellness, violence prevention, family engagement, workforce development, and education. This integrated approach of targeted teacher recruitment, housing assistance, and extended training will decrease suspension rates and disrupt the school to prison pipeline.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Randy,

It is great to see all the progress on your project submission.

There are two other projects in the challenge you might want to check out Empowered Moms, Empowered Kids: Transforming Families Headed by Single Moms from Poverty to Prosperity Two Generations at a Time and LIFTing up Chicago's South Side for their curriculum and the innovative work they are doing.

Photo of Randy

Thank you, Kate Rushton ! I checked out the Jeremiah Program and I'll be reaching out to their team to set up a conversation. Our team is also due to take a trip to Chicago to check out Urban Prep Academy; I think we'll make time to try to connect with Chicago-LIFT as well. Very grateful for the suggestions!

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