Issues & Results

School Improvement

In many of the high schools in our cities less than half of all young people who begin 9th grade graduate. Those that do graduate are often not adequately prepared for college or work. PICO federations have developed innovative solutions such as small autonomous schools and new tools for engaging parents that are improving teaching and learning in public schools and closing the achievement gap.

Here's how PICO is working to make sure every young person graduates from high school prepared for college or meaningful work:

Small Autonomous Schools

Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) crafted the first comprehensive small schools policy in the nation, resulting over 50 new schools and a strategy to transform the entire Oakland school system to support high quality instruction for all children. The small autonomous schools movement in Oakland is now serving as a model for school districts across the country that want to provide parents with high quality public education choices for their children, and PICO affiliates in San Jose, San Francisco and Denver have created small schools that rank at the top of their districts. Learn more >>

Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project

Sacramento Area Congregations Together created the first large-scale parent engagement strategy based on teacher home visits. Better communication between home and school helps both teachers and parents do their jobs better. With support from the California Teachers Association, PICO has won state legislation and federal funding for this innovative strategy which is now being used by more than 600 schools across the country.

Alternative Budgeting

Since 2005, Metro Organizations for People (MOP) in Denver has been leading a campaign to ensure that every child in the Denver Public School system receives a fair share of district funding. In 2006, MOP won support for the implementation of student-based budgeting, a strategy that ties dollars to students, not staff, and ensures that those dollars go to the school in which the student enrolls. In 2008, MOP won another victory when the Superintendent committed to begin allotting additional funds for low-income students. MOP continues its campaign to ensure equitable school funding in Denver. 

Read MOP's reports on student-based budgeting here: Unraveling the DPS Budget: Toward Transparency & Equity through Weighted Student Funding and Delving Deeper into the DPS Student-Based Budget: Next Steps in Transparency & Equity