UP Partnership’s Restorative Practices Collaborative aims to increase inclusion practices for local boys and young men of color​

UP Partnership's Restorative Practices Collaborative aims to increase inclusion practices for local boys and young men of color

Did you know that in Bexar County, Black students represent 6% of the student population, yet they represent 11% of out-of-school suspensions, according to a 2020 Texas Education Agency report. This statistic is due, in part, to punitive and exclusionary discipline practices like suspensions and expulsion and those types of punishment affect students of color through isolation, alienation, and criminalization.

This is where UP Partnership’s Restorative Practices Collaborative focuses their work.

The purpose of the Restorative Practices Collaborative (RPC) is to change systems to scale restorative justices in classrooms and communities to increase a sense of belonging and connection for boys and young men of color. The RPC serves all students of color, with a focus on boys and young men of color,on twenty-one campuses, in three partner districts, in partnership with Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center, the Restorative Practices Collaborative, strives to reduce those disciplinary practices that disproportionately impact young students of color.

Through monthly community building sessions and providing and sharing data to track progress and share best practices, the RPC seeks to strengthen relationships and provide alternative methods of discipline practices through a comprehensive, focused, community driven strategy. We work with our long-term partners, American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AITSCM) and Empower House, to deliver Community Building Circles to Judson ISD, Harlandale ISD and San Antonio ISD.

As we progress with our Future Ready Bexar Plan and its collective North Star, to increase the percentage of Bexar County High School graduates enrolling in postsecondary degree or credential programs to 70% by 2030, the Restorative Practices Collaborative’s work is deeply rooted in the equity pillar of healing.

Along with access and voice, healing is one of the identified must HAVEs, an acronym that aligns with the pillars that lead toward equity amongst Bexar County’s young people. 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.

We kicked off the final semester for the current Restorative Practices Collaborative cohort with principals and district leads from the three school districts previously mentioned, so please stay tuned for a recap of that powerful event. A new cohort will start in 2023.

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.

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

You can also follow our progress by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.

Diplomás network has tangible impact on Latinx students in Bexar County

Diplomás network has tangible impact on Latinx students in Bexar County

Today we kickoff Hispanic Heritage Month—a month to appreciate and celebrate the culture, history and diversity of Latinx communities. Introduced in June 1968 by Congressman George E. Brown, the celebration was originally only one week long. It was extended to the now 30-day celebration by President Ronald Reagan and was formally adopted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. While the Sept. 15 start day may seem odd, it is important and relevant considering Sept. 15 is the day of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, followed by Mexico’s independence day on Sept. 16 and Chile’s independence day on Sept. 18. The month ends three days after Día de la Raza (“Race Day”), held Oct. 12, a prominent holiday celebration in many Latin countries that honors the rich history and culture of a pre-colonized America. 

As we begin this month of celebration of the Hispanic culture, we would be remiss to acknowledge the difficulties and disparities that continue to impact our Latinx communities.

At UP Partnership, our network, Diplomás, is a collective impact effort that unites 23 cross-sector partners to increase the college attainment and quality of life of San Antonio’s Latinx youth

Diplomás’s core beliefs center around economic viability as it ties to the success of Latinx students, college access for everyone and shared responsibility between community partners in student success. Therefore, at UP Partnership, we  focus on creating alignment between community partners, streamlining college admissions resources and supporting Dreamers in getting into, and completing, college. 

Providing ACCESS to postsecondary opportunity is the foundation of Diplomás, and is one of the three equity pillars, along with HEALING and VOICE, that our recently  launched Future Ready Bexar County Plan is rooted in. Those equity pillars have been identified as the must HAVES for equity amongst Bexar County’s young people.  As we work toward our collective North Star goal, to increase the percentage of Bexar County High School graduates enrolling in postsecondary degree or credential programs to 70% by 2030, the work that Diplomás does is integral to reaching our goal. This work will take every member of our community, working together, to ensure the success of young people through the Future Ready 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.

You can also follow our progress by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.

How young people can improve relational skills

Four ways young people can improve their relational skills

Throughout life, everyone will have different relationships varying from siblings, parents, friends and partners. Relationships take a lot of work to maintain, so below are a few ways to help you better your relationships.

For all relationships, it is important to be honest. In romantic love, it can be scary to admit how you feel or what you really want early on. You don’t want to waste your time in a relationship if it won’t go anywhere. It is best to be honest about your opinions, beliefs, and expectations for your relationship. Do not ever settle for less than what you deserve.

With community, it is important to admit to your siblings, friends, or even your neighbors how you truly feel. If you don’t express how you feel, it will just fester inside of you. Leaving it be sometimes feels like the high road, but the only one getting hurt is you. Express how you feel in a calm way and let your words be heard.

For parental love, it is vital to be transparent. Sometimes our parents can be aggressive towards us with expectations, grades, and even discipline. Without communicating how they hurt you, they may continue to do so unknowingly. You have to advocate for yourself. Be honest with your parents at some point with your sexuality. Although it is frightening, believe me, you shouldn’t have to deny a part of your identity. My parents were able to accept me as I am now, but it took time and uncomfortable conversations.

The very last thing I want to talk to you about is your relationship with yourself. Look in the mirror, be completely honest, and ask yourself, “Have I been loving my body, personality, or myself to the fullest?” If not, you need to begin your journey of self-love. First, the most important thing is to change your negative self-talk with positivity. Although this takes some practice, you will begin to see your mood boost. Next, you should pamper yourself in whichever way makes you feel better. This can be a skincare routine, self-date, a walk, or even buying something you really wanted. Whatever it may be, it should be a way of showing appreciation towards yourself. Over time, you will love yourself endlessly from the stomach rolls to the tears.

Relationship types can vary but improving them is part of the process. Practice being honest and loving yourself one day at a time.

Trinity, Alyssa, Shradha

Editor’s Note

The idea of youth voice takes on many forms, including sharing experiences and ideas with policy makers, which many of the young people of Our Tomorrow have done. 

However, young people’s experiences and ideas are abundant, and we at Our Tomorrow and UP Partnership wanted to create a space for them to share their thoughts on current issues they face around mental wellness. This is a series of blogs that we will share monthly that highlight these experiences, thoughts and opinions. Thank you to The Center for Young Minds and The Ecumenical Center for partnering with us for this initiative.

These thoughts and opinions do not expressly represent the thoughts of UP Partnership, its leadership team or board of directors.