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Bexar County Receives Recognition for Transforming Systems for Young People 

In recognition of its impact on the lives of young people in Bexar County, StriveTogether has designated UP Partnership as a “Systems Transformation” Cradle to Career Network member, the top designation for communities in its national network, making it one of six total communities to do so in the country.

To achieve the “Systems Transformation” designation, UP Partnership alongside our community partners had to demonstrate a deep commitment to improving education outcomes, working collaboratively with key stakeholders and showing progress in multiple areas including increasing early childhood participation rates, improving K-12 attendance and increasing college and career readiness.

Through StriveTogether, UP Partnership is part of a national movement to help every child succeed in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code or circumstance.

This “Systems Transformation” designation acknowledges the incredible work team San Antonio continues to do by aligning our efforts on the Future Ready Bexar County Plan but the work is being done by community partners to further equitable outcomes. 

By working together to leverage data, promote equality and engage the community, Bexar County is setting a positive example for other communities that are dedicated to improving student outcomes. Read more here.


Data Resource

UP Partnership’s Cradle to Career Dashboard allows users to assess progress towards the Future Ready Bexar County Plan’s collective North Star goal. It’s there for you to use!

You can analyze community information on education and workforce system characteristics, track postsecondary educational attainment and education-to-career objectives, and benchmark community efforts against state averages.

  • Postsecondary education is essential to successful pathways to economic mobility in Bexar County with approximately 65% of employment opportunities requiring some form of postsecondary education, however only 33% of adults in Bexar County have an associate degree or higher. 

  • Between 2012 and 2021, the average postsecondary educational attainment for Bexar County has been lower than both the national and state averages with only 47% of 2021 Bexar County high school graduates being ready for college. If we let this trend continue, it would affect the next generation of high school students’ educational outcome, employability and livelihood.

Future Ready Leadership Table Meeting

On July 13, 2023, nearly 125 top executives and senior leaders from nearly 90 community partners came together at the Future Ready Leadership Table to discuss strategies that will drive forward the work of our community Future Ready Bexar County Plan.

The Future Ready Leadership Table oversees the progress of the plan as we strive together to reach our collective North Star goal of increasing enrollment of Bexar County High School graduates in a postsecondary or credential program to 70% by 2030 — a goal that will be accomplished when an additional 5,000 students from our community enroll in a postsecondary opportunity each year.

Leaders from cross-sector community partners shared successful milestones that have been accomplished under the Future Ready Bexar County Plan.

Partner Highlights Shared


The direct admissions program at Alamo Colleges District — which began in partnership with 25 public high schools, has since expanded to now include 73 comprehensive public high schools, including magnet and charter schools in Bexar County. As a result of that expansion, more than 15,000 students have reserved their spot at one of the five Alamo Colleges District campuses.

Direct Admissions Pilot

San Antonio ISD and a local university will automatically admit the top 25% of students at a pilot school into the university. More than 400 students were directly admitted from SAISD to this university due to the pilot. 

Comprehensive case management

Addressing other barriers to educational success, East Central ISD and Communities In Schools — San Antonio have partnered together to offer comprehensive case management to address the barriers that impact Bexar County’s young people both academically and out of school throughout their education journey. An example of the success of this partnership can be seen in the number of young people who are sent to counseling for mental health needs and supports, as opposed to behavioral supports, which has doubled the number previously. 

Shifting the treatment of justice referred young people

Recognizing the impact of adverse childhood experiences on Bexar County’s young people, Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department staff, whether they work directly or indirectly with youth, have adopted a trauma informed approach which allows them to address the root and causes of potentially adverse behavior, rather than entering young people into the justice system with a goal of seeing better results for those young people who are justice referred. The Department of Justice also spoke about successful legislation that reduces the likelihood of vaping leading to student pushouts.

SA Worx

SA Worx, the workforce development arm of the economic development organization greater:SATX, works to ensure San Antonio is the top choice for employers and community members to fulfill the employment needs of local and regional companies.

“Working with community partners toward a unified strategy will create systematic change in our workforce and economic sphere in our region,” said Romanita Matta-Barrera, Chief Workforce Officer. Read more about the impact SA Worx is having in Bexar County here.

Meet UP Partnership’s Finance and Ops Team

You probably know the names and faces of the team members who help advance our work everyday, but we want to shine a light on the team that keeps UP Partnership running.

The Finance and Ops team shares responsibility for the internal systems needed for organizational operation so every member of the team is rooted in UP Partnership’s values, engaged as a team in our collective work and have the capacity to drive impact.

The team consists of Brandon Henson, Director of Finance and Operations, J’Shcarla Adkins, Senior Manager of Finance and Operations, Patrick Farris, Manager of Development and Grants, Rodnekka Hall, Human Resources Manager of Training and Development and Kristen Kitler, Human Resources Manager of Team Success. Read more about them here.


Latest UPdates

Meet UP Partnership’s K12 and Youth Development Team

UP Partnership’s K12 and Youth Development team collaborates with community partners through the Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio (EBBSA) network San Antonio network and Excel Academy to strengthen the student experience in Bexar County. The team consists of liz moseley, Director of K12 and Youth Development, Shelby Drayton, Senior Manager of Coaching and Facilitation who leads Excel Academy and Sarah Hinojosa, Manager of K12 and Youth Development who leads EBBSA. Read more about them here.

UP Partnership and Community Partners visit Harlem Children’s Zone

In early May, Harlem Children’s Zone hosted a cross-sector of Future Ready Bexar County Plan community partners including Alamo Colleges District, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, Communities in Schools of San Antonio, San Antonio Area Foundation, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County and UP Partnership. The lessons learned on the trip will help community implementation of the Future Ready Bexar County Plan.


June is Pride Month. At UP Partnership, we know that racism and bigotry can take a psychological toll on marginalized people. We stand with the LGTBQ+ community against the homophobic and transphobic bills that could block vital care and access to LGBTQ+ young people. Every child, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to have the support of their community.

Partner Spotlights

Future Ready partner organizations that empower girls and women

In March, UP Partnership celebrated Women’s History Month by highlighting Future Ready partners organizations that empower girls and women to be the leaders of the future. Included in the story were Empower House, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, Girls on the Run Bexar County, Lemonade Circle and YWCA San Antonio. Read More.

How 100 Black Men is changing young people’s lives through workforce programming

100 Black Men of San Antonio “focuses on education, economic empowerment, health and wellness and leadership development all anchored in mentorship,” the organization’s local Executive Director Dr. Milton Harris, DBA, told UP Partnership.

The organization works in the community by offering programs that focus on alternative high school completion, workforce credentialing, creating mentorship relationships, among others. Read more about the impact 100 Black Men is having in Bexar County here.

Excel Academy and Restorative Practices Collaborative Recruitment

Applications for the new cohorts of Excel Academy and Restorative Practices Collaborative are now open! If you are interested in Excel Academy, contact Shelby Drayton at If you are interested in Restorative Practices Collaborative, contact Suzette Solorzano at

Want to be spotlighted? Contact Carrie Ballard-Banuelos at with your story to potentially be featured in our stories!

Advancing the work

Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio

EBBSA had the annual CEO retreat on September 14-15th. Thank you to the CEO retreat committee for their hard work and dedication in creating an intentional and relationship building focused event. Martha Ramos Duffer, founder and owner of Quantum Possibilities, presented on “Nurturing Cultures of Belonging” with an open discussion after dinner.

Excel Academy

Excel Academy welcomed its newest class on August 31 at the Boeing Center at Tech Port, with programming starting in September 2024. Welcome to the program Class of 2024!

Restorative Practices Collaborative

Restorative Practices Collaborative (RPC) Cohort 3 started  the final leg of their restorative justice training on August 31 at San Antonio ISD headquarters. This cohort will complete the RPC program in March of 2024.

Applications for Cohort 4, which will begin in August of 2024, are currently open. Please contact Suzette Solorzano, Senior Manager of Coaching and Facilitation for K12 and Justice, at for more information.

Moving the needle forward with a national lens

In July, Sara Dunn, UP Partnership’s Director of Data and Information Management, in community with staff from Future Ready community partners Communities In School – San Antonio and East Central ISD  advanced work during William Julius Wilson Institute (WJWI) and Harvard EdRedesign Lab’s Transforming Place Through Neighborhood Leadership Summer Training Institute. The sessions further equipped the team with the tools needed to think through and advance our work using data insights.There was also a presentation on research about Communities In Schools’s program and the long term financial impact that their integrated support systems have on youth who as adults make $1,500 more annually than the average person and over $50,000 over their lifetime.

 “We definitely learned a lot and all feel inspired and ignited to come home and continue to sustain this work,” Natasha Richardson, Strategic Partnership Manager at Communities In Schools of San Antonio, said after the trip.