Important note: The following recommendation was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 20, 2016:

To:              Honorable Board of Supervisors

From:          John L. Maltbie, County Manager; Mike Callagy, Assistant County Manager

Subject:     Agreement with Live in Peace for truancy prevention, educational supportive services and case management


Adopt a resolution authorizing an agreement with Live in Peace in an amount not to exceed $1,300,000 to provide educational supportive services and case management to youth who are on probation, truant and at-risk of being truant in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, for the term of October 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.


On February 12, 2015, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) approved $885,000 in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant (Byrne JAG) funding to San Mateo County for the implementation of a truancy prevention program in the City of East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park. On January 22, 2016, the BSCC approved an additional $832,817 in year two program funding.

Statistics show that the high school graduation rate for these areas of the County stands at only 55 percent—a number much lower than any other part of the County—and that low graduation rates result in greater involvement with the criminal justice system. 

Live in Peace (LIP), an East Palo Alto educational service non-profit, helps youth in that community to navigate educational and other barriers to a more peaceful and positive future. Their core programs include College Initiative, Street Code Academy and Music Academy.


Students With Amazing Goals (SWAG) is a comprehensive community-based multi- disciplinary program aimed at reducing juvenile truancy, delinquency and gang violence in the communities of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park by improving school attendance, increasing high school graduation rates, and creating pathways to long- term success for at-risk high school students. The SWAG program, which is overseen by the County Manager’s Office (CMO) and operated by LIP, is located at 763 Green Street in East Palo Alto, a site formerly used as an alternative school and owned by the Sequoia Union High School District. The “One Stop” multi-disciplinary program provides approximately 80 at-risk youth and those on probation with intensive case management and other educational and social supportive services needed to help them improve school attendance and complete the educational credits needed to graduate. In  addition, youth develop Life Plans to chart the course of future educational and/or employment goals.

The SWAG program strategy relies on robust referral network including the Sequoia Union High School District, the Probation Department, the Courts, local non-profits and community-based organizations, and local law enforcement. Once enrolled in the program, youth are evaluated to determine academic and social needs. A multi- disciplinary team comprised of specialized staff from Probation, the Human Services Agency, Behavioral Health and SWAG case managers review each participant’s needs to determine an individual program plan. In addition, all youth are assigned a dedicated case manager whose job is to provide continuous monitoring, support, encouragement, advocacy, and guidance through the program experience.

SWAG program learning environments include: high school credit recovery, Cyber High, independent study, individualized tutoring, college counseling, violence prevention, life skills, and vocational training. Youth also participate in numerous pro-social activities, including family nights and community service projects, as well as fun and educational excursions intended to reward them for good work and expose them to opportunities beyond their communities.

The SWAG MDT continuously evaluates youth participant progress and works with case managers and other SWAG staff to adjust program services and dosages as needed. Upon completion or withdrawal from the program, youth undergo a post-assessment and work with case managers to develop a Life Plan.

As part of the required evaluation component of the Byrne JAG grant and since its inception in June 2015, the SWAG program and the CMO have closely worked with the Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University to develop a successful program strategy and design. Phases 2 and 3 of the Gardner’s Center work will include an implementation study in the second year of the program, and an outcome study in the third year, which will form the basis of the program’s overall evaluation to  the BSCC.

To date, the SWAG program has enrolled a total of 80 at-risk youth from grades 10 through 12, including youth classified as “5th year seniors,” with none dropping out of school. Nine of the 5th year seniors have now earned their high school diplomas and transitioned to community colleges. Three more continue to earn the credits needed to graduate. Tenth and eleventh grade SWAG youth continue to earn the academic credits needed to stay on course towards graduation—with many earning these credits at the SWAG Green Street campus. Overall, school data indicate that school attendance and GPAs have steadily increased for youth enrolled in the program. However, as many of these young people face a myriad of academic, economic and social challenges preventing their successful participation in high school, school attendance and overall GPAs have not improved markedly for a smaller subset of youth. Thus, SWAG case managers and staff will continue to more intensely work with these youth, particularly those in the lower grades, to increase their rates of school attendance (to above 80 percent) and raise their GPAs while continuing to make progress towards graduation.

Byrne JAG funding is being provided to the County for a 34-month cycle starting    March 1, 2015 and ending on December 31, 2017, contingent on the County submitting subsequent applications and demonstrating progress against its program implementation goals and strategies. The County was awarded $885,000 in year one (March 1-December 2015) funding and $832,817 in year two (January 1-December 31, 2016) funding. It is expected the County will receive a similar amount of funding for year three (January1-December 2017). Finally, the County has committed $350,000 in Measure A as match funding to support the program.

The County Manager’s Office will continue to serve as the lead County agency and program fiscal agent to the BSCC. Assistant County Manager Mike Callagy and Legislative Director, Connie Juarez-Diroll direct the program.

It is in the best interest of the County to waive the Request for Proposals (RFP) process because Live in Peace was identified as the service provider in the grant application  due to the unique nature of the services offered as well as established relationships within the target community.

County Counsel has reviewed the resolution as to form and LIP meets Insurance Certification requirements.

Approval of this resolution contributes to the Shared Vision 2025 of a Prosperous Community by providing the County’s most at-risk youth with the intervention and supportive services they need to improve school attendance rates, graduate from high school and promote success in life.



FY 2014-15 Actuals

FY 2016-17 Projected

Percent of 5th year seniors that graduate high school



Percent of 10th graders with improved school attendance



Percent of 10th graders on track to graduate in 4 years



Percent of 9th graders with improved school attendance



Percent of 9th graders on track to graduate in 4 years




The term of the agreement with Live in Peace is October 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017. The total obligation is $1,300,000, to be funded with a combination of Byrne JAG ($1,189,009) and Measure A ($110,991) funding.

Important note: This is a copy of the official report -- item 21 on the Board's agenda.