Changing Lives in San Francisco: One Student and One Teacher at a Time

image of Urban Education Academy students image of Urban Education Academy students and teacher

When a student establishes a special relationship with a teacher, it can change the trajectory of a young person’s life.

Good teachers help their students learn an important history lesson or solve a complex math problem. But it’s the great teachers who have the ability to personally connect with students, relate to who and where they are in life, inspire a personal or professional path, and empower them to dream big.

An educational organization called Urban Ed Academy (UEA), located in the Bayview area of San Francisco, has lofty aspirations to enhance San Francisco’s public education system and shape the future of local youth through a signature initiative called “Man the Bay.”

Through a series of grants, FivePoint has supported Man the Bay because it reflects the company’s values of education, equal access to opportunity and leadership.

The program recruits 100 African American men into the Bayview Hunters Point community, where they are placed into classrooms with students of color and teach at neighborhood schools within San Francisco Unified School District for a minimum of four years to earn their teaching credentials.

Complementary workforce housing is provided to participating teachers through a unique social exchange program, an incentive that helps UEA recruit the best possible talent while also increasing their capacity for student involvement. By connecting these teachers and students, Man the Bay hopes to inspire the students to dream bigger about their futures and reach for opportunities they might never have considered pursuing.  

“We know that same-race matches between students and teachers are associated with greater achievement,” said UEA Executive Director Randy Seriguchi. “Fewer than two percent of all teachers nationally are African American, and we believe that youth can’t be what they can’t see.”

Man the Bay has four components: recruitment, personal and professional development, strategic job placement, and housing securement.

The short-term project goal is to increase academic outcomes and attendance in school and decrease behavioral incidents and suspensions. The long-term vision is to facilitate successful maturation of boys of color throughout their high school and college years and into adulthood.

FivePoint has provided $175,000 in grants to support UEA and Man the Bay. Additionally, the nonprofit participated in an extensive “Request for Expression of Interest” process to be a tenant in a building FivePoint owns in the community, and was recently selected as a lessee for its ability to demonstrate innovation, commitment to community and overall impact.

“This program brings together so much – young teachers who get real world experience, students who are more engaged and likely to stay in school, and opportunities to help preserve and stabilize existing housing stock,” said FivePoint executive La Shon Walker. “It provides instant community.”