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Initiatives

Public Health Reentry Policy Initiative

COPE is a participant in a statewide public policy initiative in California to increase access to health care for formerly incarcerated persons. The project will establish task forces in five counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego), develop policy recommendations to impact access to health care, and increase coordination of free and reduced cost public health resources and health education for ex-offenders and their families.

Parents-Communities Engaged In Education (P-CEE)

Problem and Response:
There is still a significant gap in academic achievement among African American students and other students of color in San Bernardino Unified School District. We believe that SBCUSD has an obligation to close the achievement gap among African American and other students of color. On June 7, 2005, the Targeted Instructional Improvement Policy (TIIP) was adopted by the San Bernardino USD Board of Education to address the academic achievement gap, as well as other indicators of students’ social and emotional well-being and development, between African Americans and other student groups, beginning with preschool through grade 12, through targeted instructional approaches and programs. The policy is a district wide mandate however there are only 2 schools in the district actively implementing programs to achieve the outcomes of the policy.

What does this policy do for African American Students and other students of color? The TIIP, if effectively implemented:

  • Increase the number of African American students enrolled in preschool programs that are culturally relevant and academically appropriate.
  • Increase the percentage of African American students achieving at the proficient or advanced levels on the California Standards Tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics
  • Increase the number of African American students successfully completing college preparatory classes
  • Reduce the disproportionate number of African American students who are placed in the Special Education program
  • Increase the number of African American students in Advance Placement courses and Advanced Learner Programs.
  • Increase the number of African American students who enrolled in and complete college preparatory classes
  • Improve graduation rates among African American students and other students of color
  • Reduces the number of suspensions, expulsions, and discipline referrals for African American students.
  • The TIIP policy can be an effective platform for raising achievement among African American students and other students of color. However, without strong parent and community oversight, the policy lacks the teeth to ensure that schools implement program and strategies to help African American and other students of color achieve the outcomes of the policy.

What Is Needed? We need a large coalition of parent and community stakeholders to:

  • Ensure that more parents are aware of this policy and they are trained to become advocates for African American students and other students of color.
  • Advocate for greater accountability and monitoring from the district to Monitor and ensure that policy achieves its intended goals for African American students.
  • Ensure that the district upholds its commitment to the policy by ensuring that resources are targeted to achieve the objectives of the TIIP policy.
  • Create a public platform for updates on the status of the policy and the intended outcomes to ensure accountability at every level of the policy.

How can I get involved? Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement and Blu Educational Services have partnered to increase parent involvement and advocacy for the TIPP policy. You can assist in this effort by:

  • Participating in series of parent focus groups to share your experiences and help develop strategies to address this district.
  • Participate in parent advocacy training to become a stronger advocate for your child.
  • Participate in public town hall meetings with school officials.
  • Share information about this policy with other parents and community members.

COPE's Project Re-Entry (CPR)

CPR is a newly formed organization of formally incarcerated individuals who have come together to support recently incarcerated persons. Ernest Austin, CPR's lead organizer, celebrated 11 years of release from prison and made it his priority to help other formally incarcerated persons gain a head start toward successful reintegration back into society. CPR endeavors to provide formally incarcerated persons with access to peer focus groups, job training and placement assistance, and health education services.

Program Services:

Peer Focus Group
Peer focus groups are facilitated by formally incarcerated persons allow participants to discuss challenges and successes they face as recently incarcerated individuals.

Health Education Project
This project is designed to increase AIDS education, outreach, and behavior changes among adults leaving prison and jail and returning to halfway houses. Through workshops and trainings, participants learning how to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS.

Education Courses
Formally incarcerated persons who do not have a high school diploma or GED may participate in Adult Basic Education and GED preparation courses. Enrollment is open and any individual interested in education courses may be referred to a designated CPR sites for free classes.

Drug & Alcohol Treatment
Providing formally incarcerated persons, on a referral basis, to community-based networks for drug and alcohol treatment. In partnership with Special Services for Groups, a long-time network of minority run drug and alcohol treatment provides, formally incarcerated persons have access to a variety of programs and services.

Job Training and Placement Opportunities
CPR will provide formally incarcerated persons with job readiness skills, job training and placement opportunities. CPR organizers seek companies who will provide entry-level opportunities for formally incarcerated persons.

Accomplishments

The passage of California State Assembly Bill 743, which provides literacy training and high school equivalency degrees to ex-offenders as a diversion from prison was successfully and simultaneously adopted in San Bernardino and Riverside County Board of Supervisors. This was a historic event for COPE on October 28, 2000; where over 600 of COPE's leaders packed Allen Chapel AME Church in Riverside, Ca to win the support of Two County's. This has never been accomplished before and has not since COPE's Victory.

The MCI/Verizon Initiative, which reduced the exorbitant rates charged for collect calls made by inmates in California’s prisons, and redirects a portion of phone company profits into education and employment services for ex-offenders and their families (2002)

The passage of California State Assembly Bill 1901, which expands measurements of success for education, rehabilitation and job placement services for ex-offenders and their families (2002)