San Joaquin County Schools and Employers are Working Together to Connect Students to Careers this Summer – Join Us! 

As we move into the final quarter of the school year, we are seeing great momentum in a countywide effort to connect more San Joaquin County high school students to careers. Some of you may be familiar with our work at San Joaquin A+, but if you are not here is some background: We are a non-profit that envisions a future where all young people can do what they love, earn what they need, in the location they want to live. We work to help San Joaquin County create a system of great schools, and one area of particular focus for us is providing students with learning experiences that connect them to career opportunities while in high school.  Centered on internships, this new initiative will expose high-school students to regional industries, high-demand jobs, develop their professional skills, provide coaching and mentorship, and offer support to make sure they have meaningful learning experiences.  Our ultimate goal is to establish a thriving community where high school youth are inspired and empowered by supportive coaches, educators, and employers to drive long-term economic growth in our region.  A few of the things we’ve done this year to make progress toward this long-term goal include:  Launched the Growing Futures Initiative: This past summer, we launched our internship pilot titled growing futures, which connected a group of students from Valley Robotics [...]

2024-04-09T16:08:46+00:00April 9th, 2024|Announcements, Opinion|

Statement from San Joaquin A+ on the Passing of Don Shalvey

Dear Friends,  Don Shalvey, the Co-CEO of San Joaquin A+, long-time resident of San Joaquin County, and national educational trailblazer for more than a half century, died Saturday at the age of 79. Don was an amazing leader, educator, person, and friend - and he lived a life that touched many people, as is exemplified by the outpouring of support he has received in the last few days, which we encourage you to read below. We at San Joaquin A+ know our work together was just a part of the great story of his life, and the arc of impactful work he did in education over the last 50 years. We will treasure the fact that he chose to use his last years to build an organization and team to serve our youth in Stockton and San Joaquin County. He truly believed right through his health battles last year that if we bring people together from local school districts, charter schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, and county governments to collaborate, we can improve education here in a way that will create a brighter future for the students of this region. As Don said after leaving the Gates Foundation to relaunch A+: “Here in the San Joaquin Valley, the quality of what we cultivate – our grapes, walnuts, cherries, and tomatoes – is known for being among [...]

2024-03-19T19:31:04+00:00March 19th, 2024|Announcements, Tribute|

Announcement: San Joaquin A+ Announces New Co-CEO, Staff Appointments, and Board Member

Kai Kung Moves into Role of Co-CEO, with Lisa Blanco Jimenez Joining the Board of Directors; New Staff Come on Board to Build out Work-Based Learning Capacity Stockton, CA [12/20/23] – Today, San Joaquin A+ (SJA+) is announcing the promotion of COO Kai Kung into the role of Co-CEO, the hiring and promotion of staff members to support the organization's expanded work-based learning experience programs, and the appointment of new board member Lisa Blanco Jimenez. “I am so thrilled to welcome Kai Kung as our new Co-CEO, welcome Lisa to our board, and Shayla and Tony to their new roles that will support us greatly in serving the students and families of San Joaquin County,” shared Don Shalvey, Co-CEO of San Joaquin A+. “Our goal is to create a system of great schools in our county. These new staff and board appointments will help us better collaborate with local families, along with education and workforce partners to prepare students to be successful and responsible citizens.” Kai Kung has served as the COO of San Joaquin A+ since 2020. Prior to his time at SJA+, Kai was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the K-12 Education Team. Before that, Kai worked on growth strategy at Edmodo, an education technology startup, and spent over seven years at Intel Corporation in Silicon [...]

2023-12-21T16:53:28+00:00December 21st, 2023|Announcements, News, Uncategorized|

Stockton Non-Profit, Community, and Parent Leaders Join Together to Welcome New Superintendent to SUSD

Community Leaders Applaud SUSD School Board for Structured, Transparent, and Inclusive Selection Process in Pursuit of Bringing Stability to the Superintendent Role [June 12, 2023 - Stockton, CA] Stockton community, nonprofit, and parent leaders joined together to congratulate the Stockton Unified School Board on their selection and approval of new superintendent Michelle Rodriguez, and on the structured and inclusive process that led to her selection. Through transparency, two-way communication, and active involvement, the Board majority is empowering the community to actively participate in shaping the future of education in Stockton. “I applaud the new SUSD School Board members for identifying and choosing a new Superintendent using a transparent process,” shared Gracie Madrid, former SUSD Principal and Director of the nonprofit Mexican Heritage Center. “Our district is better when we include community members in important processes like these. This hiring reflects that, and we look forward to learning more about and getting to know the new Superintendent.” The SUSD school board hired the nationally-respected search firm McPherson & Jacobson, LLC in March, after public presentations in February from four firms, including: Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, BWP & Associates, and Leadership Associates. Once hired, the Stockton Unified School District’s board majority embarked on an inclusive process in its search for a new Superintendent, including forming a Superintendent Search Subcommittee and establishing a [...]

2023-06-13T19:29:01+00:00June 13th, 2023|Announcements, News, Uncategorized|

Agriculture Employers Launch the Growing Futures Initiative for San Joaquin County Students

Leading Employers from the Wine and Agriculture Industry Come Together with Educators and Students to Announce Partnership in a Long-Term Effort to Provide New Pathways to Jobs [Lodi, CA]  - On Wednesday May 24th, 2023, the Lodi Winegrowers, the Lodi Appellation Inclusion Collective (LAIC), and leading employers from the agriculture industry in San Joaquin County convened to announce the launch of the Growing Futures Initiative focused on providing more inclusive pathways to agriculture jobs in the region long-term. Specifically, the group announced the formation of an Agricultural Partnership Board in San Joaquin County that will support a Career Connected Learning Initiative pilot program where students intern at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Holt of California, and Acquiesce Winery this summer. “We formed LAIC with a primary goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in the wine industry in our appellation and beyond,” shared Rodney Tipton, LAIC Founder and co-owner of Acquiesce Winery. “We know that the most effective and sustainable way to do this is to begin by providing the proper education and exposure to young people from diverse backgrounds who are interested in our industry. The formation of the Ag Partnership Board and the launch of the Career Connected Learning Initiative can be the engine for bringing more and more diverse talents into our industry and help provide good jobs to local youth who want to stay in [...]

2023-05-25T18:58:02+00:00May 25th, 2023|Announcements, News, Press Release|

High-Dosage Tutoring Initiative Launched for San Joaquin County Students

San Joaquin A+ and Amira Learning bring high-dosage tutoring pilot program to district partners like Linden USD to help students catch up from pandemic learning loss [April 25, 2023] Stockton, CA - On Tuesday April 25th, Amira Learning, San Joaquin A+, and Linden Unified School District joined with local leaders to share a first of its kind in San Joaquin County high-dosage tutoring pilot program in action - one that uses the Amira learning platform to help students make significant progress in reading. “We are so thrilled to collaborate with educators and school leaders to bring this program to San Joaquin County and Stockton students,” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “We all know what a toll the pandemic took on student learning, so to have the opportunity to work together to bring a high-dosage tutoring initiative to our young people that will not only help elementary students catch up, but will also provide tutoring, mentoring, and teaching experience to high school students, is truly a win-win for all of us.” In this unique pilot, Amira Learning and San Joaquin A+ are working with local schools in the Central Valley to hire high school students to tutor their elementary school peers using the Amira Learning platform. Research shows that high-dosage tutoring is beneficial for students, and peer tutoring allows for higher rates of [...]

2023-04-27T15:57:44+00:00April 27th, 2023|Announcements, News|

New Poll Shows that 92% of Voters Support Early College High Schools

Voters in Stockton are pessimistic about job opportunities for people without college degrees and almost seventy percent (70%) of parents say local public schools need to change. San Joaquin A+ worked with a nationally recognized research organization called Public Opinion Strategies to conduct a telephone survey in Stockton, CA. The survey was conducted January 8-11, 2023. The survey was conducted among with 200 registered voters in Stockton, with an oversample of parents. The margin of error for a survey with 200 respondents in this context is ±6.93%. "The headline finding for us at San Joaquin A+ is that voters overwhelmingly support creating an early college high school program in Stockton (92% support) across party lines and education backgrounds," shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. "This support is largely driven by families being attracted to opportunities for students to receive college credits while still in high school, and by the belief that proposals for Early College and Career Oriented High Schools would lead to greater career options for youth in Stockton," he continued. "These responses reinforce a core goal of San Joaquin A+, which is to work with local schools to prepare young people to do what they love and earn what they need to have a family sustaining income by the age of 26." Other core findings include the following: Voters in Stockton [...]

2023-04-04T18:38:43+00:00March 28th, 2023|A+ Monthly Newsletter, Announcements, News|

New Report Titled ‘Stuck in Neutral’ Details How Stockton School Board is Holding Back Progress in County’s Largest District

Report Calls for $109 Million Investment in High Dosage Tutoring, along with increased Social and Emotional Learning Supports to Help Bring Students Back from Pandemic [STOCKTON, CA] - Today, San Joaquin A+ released an education policy brief titled: Stuck in Neutral: How Governance Failures Have Held Back Progress in Stockton Schools and How More Focused Investment in Our Students Can Help Them Accelerate Forward. The brief is a status report on the state of education across San Joaquin County. The report shines a light on how despite pockets of progress across the county, dysfunction and leadership failures on the Stockton Unified School Board is holding back educators and students in the County’s largest and highest need school district; it then lays out a path forward for academic recovery from learning loss due to COVID-19 with more focused and transparent investment to support students. “We at San Joaquin A+ applaud the herculean efforts of teachers, parents, and school staff for the work they’ve done to support students over the last few years” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “When we look at what is happening in schools across San Joaquin County’s largest school system, data shows students are falling behind, and local feedback indicates that students and educators feel stuck in neutral.” The report is broken into a few key sections: It highlights pockets of [...]

2022-10-06T14:58:22+00:00October 6th, 2022|Announcements, News, Press Release, Report|

San Joaquin County Child Savings Account Pilot Program Launches for the 2021-22 School Year

Local Organizations and Leaders Come Together to Offer Child Savings Accounts to Local Families and to Share their Joint Commitment to Invest in their Future Success [November 15, 2021] Stockton, CA – Today, local non-profit San Joaquin A+ (SJA+) brought together community leaders, program partners, and parents to commemorate the launch of the San Joaquin County Child Savings Account pilot program, and to share the community’s joint commitment to invest in the successful futures of local children. This event will launch the pilot year of the initiative, which will make the program available to over 2,000 families in the first year to have $750 placed in a savings account for each child, with these investments expected to grow to a minimum of $1,800 when each child in the program turns 18 and graduates high school. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to kick this program off with local families and community partners,” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “Studies have found that children from low-income backgrounds that have $500 or less in a College Savings Account are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate, compared to those with no college savings. This is all about us as a community coming together to support these families, and to show them that we are invested in the future of [...]

2021-11-16T01:27:40+00:00November 16th, 2021|Announcements, News, Press Release, Uncategorized|

Education Brief Highlights Urgency of Student Academic Needs in Stockton Coming Out of Pandemic

San Joaquin A+ publishes policy brief about education coming out of the pandemic - and proclaims that local education leaders would be crazy if they don’t get creative in support of students. Stockton, CA [10/27/20] – Today, San Joaquin A+ (SJA+) released a policy brief titled: Education Coming Out of the Pandemic – We’d be Crazy if We Didn’t Get Creative… The brief is a compilation of the most recent data available for education outcomes across the county and in the Stockton Unified School District, as a way to set a baseline for student learning progress coming out of the pandemic. The report shares a short list of creative recommendations based off of a year of surveys and engagement conducted by SJA+ that will help to spur improvements in student learning. “I’m grateful to the community leaders and partners who shared their insights to help us create this report,” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “Over the last few months, we’ve reviewed a myriad of data - local and national, and from students and parents - and those conversations identified a number of creative solutions that I’m confident will help our students overcome the many challenges they’re facing in our schools.” The brief is broken into four parts, starting with baseline data about SJ County and Stockton Schools, and the impact of COVID [...]

2021-10-27T16:42:43+00:00October 27th, 2021|Announcements, News, Press Release|
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