In 2010, the 16-block Santee neighborhood was one of the lowest socioeconomic areas in the City of San Jose, with a large proportion of recent immigrants, non-English speaking families, high level of gang activity (identified by the San Jose Police Department as one of the City’s gang “hot spots”), family violence, and poor school performance in terms of academics, truancy, and behavior. Santee Elementary School had the second lowest API in the district, with a 2010 Base of 734. The school was moving into its fifth year of Federal Program Improvement. Based on state STAR testing reports, 80% of the students were socio-economically disadvantaged and 85% were classified as English learners. Although the City of San Jose had invested significant resources over the years through suppression and intervention programs such as Weed and Seed, Project Crackdown, and redevelopment funding through the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative, improvements were not quick enough or sustainable.
A number of local service agencies were working diligently to help the community, but there was little or no coordination among the services. The burden of assisting families was often on the shoulders of the teachers and principal, taking them away from their primary purpose of providing a quality education and positive school culture.
In response to this crisis, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and the Franklin McKinley School District worked together to secure funding from the Packard Foundation, the City of San Jose, the County Office of Education and FIRST 5 of Santa Clara County to launch the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative (FMCI). Today, FMCI convenes and partners with over 25 private and public organizations, and provides direct services to invest in the Santee neighborhood through three key areas — Hub Schools, Safe and Strong Neighborhoods and Economic Development.more » « less