Since its inception, Urban Compass has managed personalized programming for 50 students at a time from the primary feeder school for Nickerson Gardens housing development families (one of the largest public housing developments in the nation). Throughout the school year, our cohort of 50 elementary students are escorted by program staff and volunteers, using safe passage strategies, to the adjacent Verbum Dei High School campus, a safe and attractive academic setting where college and high school student mentors serve as successful role models from the neighborhood. Urban Compass partners with this high school campus to make use of their state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities, and most importantly, to access their college-bound students to serve as volunteers and form a reciprocal relationship that offers positive role models for the younger children and develop leadership skills in the older ones. Families love that college-bound high school students are assisting their students each week. In addition to the 250+ Verbum High students who volunteer with us each year, college students from Loyola Marymount University and USC help out each week. Partnerships with several community-based organizations, city agencies, foundations, universities, and faith-based organizations allow for diverse program offerings for students.
Program components include: Nutrition/Snack, Academic Tutoring, Arts and Crafts, Music, Physical Fitness/Recreation, Mentoring/Leadership, Social Development, Summer Support/Summer Camp, STEM Focus, Monthly Field Trips/Special Events, Student Recognition, Family Engagement & Support, and Middle School Transition.
Also, because we support the same families and students through each of their elementary years, from Kindergarten through 5th grade, we are able to build upon strengths and address areas of growth. Urban Compass is a data-driven organization that tracks various student school data points to tailor our programs, from report cards, attendance records, to homework completion and work habits. We are proud that Urban Compass students end every year with improvement on school report cards and in core academic areas, social skills, and work habits! Our goal is to encourage academic improvement at the end of each school year. On final report cards, the percentage of students who earned Proficient (3) and Advanced Proficient (4) grades always improves from the first report period, as well as improvement of at least one grade level (even if not yet proficient).