Walking with a Future Ready Coach

Walking with a Future Ready Leadership Coach

UP Partnership's CEO discusses the benefits of coaching sessions to support organizations with Future Ready action commitments

There is a large, framed photograph in my family’s home that I absolutely love. It was taken years ago by a friend of mine while walking through a forest. The picture shows sunlight arriving at the forest’s edge, breaking through a thick collection of trees.

When looking at the photo, you can see yourself as the walker, as someone who pressed on even when light was hard to find, knowing it would appear again if only you kept advancing.

Similarly, leadership, almost by definition, requires walking into the unknown. To discover new possibilities, all leaders must enter the forest. They must leave behind the safety of the meadow, stepping beyond comfort zones to emerge on new ground.

At its core, coaching gives leaders someone to walk besides them to stay on course, especially when the woods grow increasingly dense.

However, it is key to not get stuck in the darkness.

This is why UP Partnership has trained several leaders in our organization as leadership coaches and started to provide coaching supports to our partners. It is also why we are offering coaching to institutions that have signed onto the Future Ready Bexar County plan, partners who are working together to make sure all young people are ready for the future. This offering is for executives, senior leaders and/or leadership teams.

UP Partnership is offering three free sessions per organization to support your organization with your Future Ready action commitments. Your designated leader or team could begin either this Fall or in the Spring. Sessions will focus on: individual leadership growth, strengthening team relationships, working together across departments, strategic planning, operational planning and/or organizational development. If this offering would be helpful, fill out this form to express your interest. Importantly, we will continue to offer coaching for youth development professionals through Excel Academy, which helps them to strengthen their program quality.

By creating space for intentional reflection, coaching helps leaders to navigate the unknown conditions around them as well as the many unknowns within themselves. It can help you to spot pitfalls, recognize patterns, understand biases, and integrate relevant feedback. Without this awareness, these are all forces that can keep you walking in circles for years.

At its core, coaching gives leaders someone to walk besides them to stay on course, especially when the woods grow increasingly dense. A great coach is a partner that helps leaders to step towards the forest’s edge; provoking new awareness until the light starts to shine through.

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Ph.D.
CEO of UP Partnership

Local nonprofits looking for high school-aged artists to submit artwork for an upcoming exhibit

Local nonprofits looking for high school-aged artists to submit artwork for an upcoming exhibit

SAY Sí and UP Partnership aim to showcase young artists’ during the WE ARE NOW 2022 exhibit in December

San Antonio, Texas (August 24, 2022): SAY Sí and UP Partnership’s network, Our Tomorrow, invite diverse young artists from local high schools grades 9-12 to submit artwork to be considered for a curated hybrid art exhibition now through Sept. 30. Art mediums accepted can range from items such as photography, painting, illustration, video, to poetry, performance and others.

Once all submissions are received, a committee of professional judges will review each piece and make decisions on what will be used for the exhibit. Final selections will be announced by November 2022.

Artists chosen will be featured at the WE ARE NOW 2022 art exhibit that will be held at SAY Sí’s headquarters at 1310 S. Brazos St. on Dec. 10, 2022.

Artists are encouraged to explore the following themes:
Self-Discovery: Since 2020, we’ve experienced so many changes. In the last couple of years, What have you uncovered about yourself or your perspective on the world around you? Consider how the changes around you have developed new views in your life: new perspectives on mental health, social injustices, cultural understanding, and more. Let your artwork be a reflection of yourself, who you are and what you believe in.

Social Activism: While youth around the world face socioeconomic, political and cultural struggles, how can artistic expressions explore some of the most relevant social justice issues of today? From COVID-19 casualties, gun violence, school shootings, police brutality, reproductive rights, and racial discrimination to financial loss, mental wellness and social unrest, youth have raised their voice to empower themselves and others through resilience, creativity and community.

About SAY Sí: SAY Sí is a national award-winning year-round, long-term, nonprofit arts-based youth development program for San Antonio area students in grades 6-12 that provides opportunities for these students to develop artistic and social skills in preparation for higher educational advancement and professional careers. SAY Sí programs serve over 200 students from all of San Antonio’s school districts – in addition to serving 3,000 youth in community programs. SAY Sí accepts diverse students from all areas of San Antonio, but first priority is given to students from inner-city schools and low economic households. SAY Sí’s unique approach to education has placed the organization on the national stage, with recognition as one of the top out-of-school-time organizations in the country by The Wallace Foundation on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. More recently, SAY Sí was one of seven international youth arts organizations chosen to receive an inaugural Creative Catalyst Award by Adobe Project 1324 on Tuesday, February 8, 2016. Creative Catalyst Awards are given to organizations across the globe that support and inspire the next generation of creatives. For more information, visit www.saysi.org.

About UP Partnership:
Founded in 2009, UP Partnership is a San Antonio-based nonprofit that convenes partners in Bexar County that provide healing, access, and voice to local youth to create equitable systems and ensure that all young people in the county are ready for the future. UP Partnership believes that making sure all of our young people are future ready is our entire community’s responsibility. This mission is ambitious, challenging— and achievable — if we organize our efforts. UP Partnership drives a countywide strategy through collaboration, data sharing and advocacy. Its work is conducted through collaborative efforts with its partners that focus on education and youth development initiatives through its networks of My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio, Diplomás, Excel Beyond the Bell and Our Tomorrow.

Envisioning a Future Ready Community: 3 pillars that guide our plan

Envisioning a Future Ready Community: 3 pillars that guide our plan

It is the responsibility of everybody in the community to ensure that all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future. Through the Future Ready Bexar County Plan, UP Partnership will work with a collection of partners, across varying sectors, in a collaborative effort to reach a collective North Star goal, which is to increase the percentage of Bexar County high school graduates enrolling in postsecondary degree or credential programs to 70% by 2030.

This is, without a doubt, an ambitious undertaking, but we also know that the framework of the Future Ready Bexar County plan will support and facilitate the differences required to attain that North Star. The plan is centered around three equity pillars — healing, access and voice, the must HAVEs for equity amongst Bexar County’s young people. Throughout this article, we will address how each of these pillars will ensure that young people in Bexar County are future ready.

Pillar One: Healing — Young people will be future ready when they all have the developmental relationships and healing supports they need. By focusing on healing traumas and fostering positive relationships with adults, we will increase high school completion and participation in programs outside of school, while also reducing suspensions, expulsions and juvenile court appearances.

Pillar Two: Access — Young people will be future ready when they can all access high quality education and career opportunities. By ensuring young people have crucial resources and support, we will increase postsecondary enrollment and success, as well as access to key technology needed for success.

Pillar Three: Voice — Young people will be future ready when their voices are heard and their leadership potential is nurtured. By uplifting the voices of young people, we will give young people ownership of problem solving and policy making at the tables addressing the very issues that they face.

We are all in this together. It will take every member of our community, working together, to ensure the success of young people through the Future Ready Bexar County Plan, and this list continues to grow with more and more partners signing up to be institutional agreement partners to the plan.

If your organization is ready to join in on the Future Ready movement, please contact admin@uppartnership.org to find out more information on how you can become a Future Ready partner or donate to the work here.

Follow our progress by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media @UPPartnershipSA.

Closing Racial Disparities in Access to Education

Closing Racial Disparities in Access to Education

Talent is equally distributed across young people in our community, however, opportunity is not. Though this is tied to larger nationwide issues, we will start here in Bexar County to change outcomes for local young people. Since 2009, UP Partnership actively serves as the backbone organization to various institutions including school districts, postsecondary education partners, local government and other education-focused nonprofits to ensure all students in our community are prepared for the future.

As the backbone, we lead in convening our partners so that we can collectively coordinate data, align pathways and promote policy change so that all students are able to succeed.

Together, we not only relish our successes, but learn from the times we have “failed forward” by sharing lessons each of us have learned along the way.

Through some of these lessons learned, we and our partners collectively identified the need to establish a communitywide plan to ensure all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future, which is called the Future Ready Bexar County Plan.

With a north star goal of increasing postsecondary enrollment of Bexar County High School graduates in a degree or credential program to 70% by 2030, UP Partnership—alongside its partners in the nine sectors of early childhood, preK12, postsecondary education, youth development, workforce, justice, funders, corporate partners and local government leaders—will use data and metrics to develop solutions that will aid in the success of Bexar County’s young individuals guided by racial equity pillars of healing, access and voice.

We want the voices of young people to be heard and have their leadership potential nurtured. Our Future Ready vision will activate adults, the community, and youth-serving systems to prepare the next generation of leaders. When young people can identify their needs and apply their problem solving efforts, they’re better able to contribute to advocacy efforts on their own behalf. This way our young community will be prepared to join and influence decision making tables while also giving them the credit and implementation support they need.

Young people deserve every opportunity to become their best selves. With the right support, they can achieve great things in life. But their potential is often hindered by systemic obstacles. We believe that these obstacles are holding back a generation of youth and our community as a whole. We aim to change this and give kids all the opportunities they deserve.

These problems include: economic segregation and harsh disciplinary measures, for which UP Partnership’s partners are providing direct service measures to try and improve.

Problem: Economic Segregation

Economic segregation is measured by how evenly economically sound and underprivileged children are distributed within the U.S. public school system. Research shows that Black and Latinx students are more likely to attend schools with high levels of economic disadvantage compared to White and Asian students. These results have been shaped by federal and state housing policies and through a history of discrimination. These opportunity youth also experience unequal access to the same resources and learning opportunities as students from wealthier backgrounds. What this ultimately means is that school poverty rates are a key measure with educational learning and achievement.

How UP Partnership is addressing issues with equal access

This starts with a shared community vision. We want to ensure that all young students have access to education and the career opportunities they deserve. Our systematic plan will support these young individuals in enrollment and succession in postsecondary programs to reach the ultimate goal of attaining a prosperous career. With UP Partnership partner support, these students will have access to technology and high quality out-of-school-time programs. Additionally, with the help of the systems and organizations involved with UP Partnership, we will implement outreach and engagement strategies to connect young people to school and living wage opportunities.

Problem: Disciplinary Measures

Research has shown that childhood misbehavioral issues like aggression, can actually predict higher earnings later on in life. Yet, there is a disproportion regarding disciplinary measures when misbehavior occurs in schools within different racial groups. It has been found that Black children face harsher penalties for acting out on the same levels of behavior externalization compared to their White peers. For the children in lower income markets, exhibiting this type of external behavior finds no benefits, while White students have been shown to benefit from this form of expression in their fields.

To succeed, young people need to have access to restorative justice practices and healing support. Far too many of them get held back by punitive disciplinary measures and unjust systems that negatively impact their future opportunities. These individuals need to be given the support to overcome trauma and elevate their strength and resilience. UP Partnership teaches restorative justice practices to our partners that aid educators in keeping these young individuals connected to their school without providing harsh punishment.

How UP Partnership is addressing disciplinary measures in school environments

UP partnership is here to ensure all students part of this San Antonio community are prepared for the future and given the right tools to do so. We coordinate data, align pathways and promote policy change so that all students are able to surpass these negative statistics and succeed.

To learn more about who we are and our impact visit About Us | UP Partnership | Unlocking Potential.

08/11/2022 Newsletter

Message from CEO:

Leaping Forward Together – Reflections on Seven Years of Partnership

My family and I made the leap to San Antonio seven years ago this July. We wanted to be closer to our parents and we wanted our parents to be involved in our children’s lives. We were also excited to escape Chicago winters, even knowing we were trading them for the unrelenting heat of Texas summers.

This was a leap that led to many others. 

I was fortunate to get a job supporting Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio. Two years into that work I took on the executive role with UP Partnership, known at the time as the P16Plus Council. We then merged Excel Beyond the Bell and UP in service of making San Antonio the “top city in the country for youth to learn, grow, and thrive.” … 

Working alongside many other contributors, our collective has helped the larger San Antonio community to deepen its commitment to racial equity. 

Read the rest of our CEO’s reflections and the successes we all have collectively advanced during the last seven years.

Data Driven

Persons who earn an associate’s degree typically make
over the course of their lives.
$ 0 K more
Those who earn a bachelor’s degree typically make
than those with a high school diploma.
$ 0 M more

The Latest Network Updates

Diplomás + My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio

On August 19th, Diplomás and MBKSA will kick-off the 2022-2023 school year with a Collaborative Social at Weathered Souls Brewery. Registration is required and we hope to see you there! Email
Jonathan Weaver at Jonathan@uppartnership.org for more details.

Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio

In mid-June, youth-serving professionals from local organizations, such as Youth Code Jam, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, YWCA, YOSA and PRESA Community Center, Catholic Charities, Ella Austin Community Center, JOVEN and North East ISD’s Kids’ Involvement Network, graduated from the Excel Academy. Excel Academy is a 10-month professional development course that equips youth serving practitioners with the tools they need to more holistically integrate Search Institute’s proven framework for “Developmental Relationships” practices within their agencies. Relational techniques that can be used to implement this framework include:  expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities.

My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio

On September 29th, San Antonio will host more than 100 individuals from Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston for a convening that will champion the MBK Texas initiative. In preparation for the upcoming 88th Texas Legislative Session, these individuals will collectively set a statewide policy agenda focusing on school community safety, and youth civic engagement.

Our Tomorrow

In conjunction with SAY Sí, the “We Are Now” 2022 exhibit is seeking submissions from a diverse set of young artists ranging across many platforms of art, including film, painting, sculpture, music, dance and theater. Encourage a young artist in your life to submit their artwork by Sept. 30th at bit.ly/wearenow2022.

Future Ready Bexar County

On July 20th, UP Partnership virtually convened more than 150 senior leaders of institutions for the inaugural Future Ready Leadership Table. Together, we highlighted preliminary projects that are already having an impact on Bexar County students and in reaching our North Star of 70% postsecondary enrollment by 2030. Recordings of the event are available here: 

Jayde Beebe

Director of Data and Information Management

Team Member Highlight

Jayde believes in the power of data. As the Director of Data and Information Management, she empowers our community to make data-driven policy for young people that ultimately leads to systems change. A self-proclaimed data geek, Jayde is a big picture thinker.

Prior to joining the UP Partnership team in 2019, she worked for the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) and Haven for Hope, where she worked with city leaders and community stakeholders to develop project monitoring and evaluation tools to help inform system-level planning and prioritization of needs for the community that is experiencing homelessness. She enjoys ‘nerding out’ over data dashboards, traveling, and spending time with her two dog-children, Eleanor and Margo.

UPportunities to get involved!

Is your institution an official Future Ready partner yet?

It’s not too late to become a partner in the Future Ready Bexar County alignment plan. Email ryan@uppartnership.org to join the nearly 70 institutions that have already signed on to ensure Bexar County’s young peoples’ futures!