Principles & Values
Unconditional Education begins with LOVE AND COMPASSION. It is the belief that every student deserves to experience success within their neighborhood school community and the faith that every student will experience this success when provided with an inclusive learning environment and the necessary supports. Love and compassion is taking the time to get to know how students’ prior school and life experiences affect them as learners and making every possible adjustment to match the style of our teaching to their individual needs. Unconditional Education extends loving care and support to the families of students who are struggling and knows that only through developing genuine partnerships with students’ larger networks will our efforts produce transformative results.
Unconditional Education holds an absolute RESPECT for each and every member of the community. Unconditional Education is the belief that students, families and school professionals are doing the best they know how. Unconditional Education means supporting growth while assuming best intent and believing that our genuine collaboration and partnership are at the heart of our capacity to affect change for students.
Unconditional Education is the acknowledgment that some students will struggle with the demands of school. It brings with it a team of experts, the power to access networks of community resources, and the know-how to identify just the right services for each individual. Since every student, family, teacher and school is unique, sometimes even the tried and true tricks of the trade will fall short. In these instances, Unconditional Education is the process of engaging in relentless CURIOSITY, the willingness to revise previous notions of what a student needs and ingenuity to develop out-of-the-box solutions when initial efforts have not produced the desired results.
When student struggles are at their greatest, Unconditional Education holds an endless capacity for HOPE and the belief that existing barriers can be overcome, even when they seem insurmountable. It is also the knowledge that significant change takes time and that COURAGE is required to meaningfully engage with both adults and students in the difficult process of learning something new. On the days when sustaining this learning seems more than can be endured, Unconditional Education delivers JOY. By intentionally building on strengths, commending successes, recognizing effort and engaging in celebrations of each other Unconditional Education can revive the persistence needed to sustain the work of educating all students.
|BELIEF IN PARTNERSHIP
Seneca understands the tremendous value of creating unbreakable partnerships that thrive on shared values, common goals, and effective collaboration. These partnerships are the vehicle that enables Seneca to successfully implement a continuum of care service delivery model that appropriately identifies and intervenes for our most vulnerable children. Seneca develops deep relationships with all of its partners and believes that these partnerships are the foundation for program success.
|CONTINUUM OF SERVICES AND EXPERTISE
Seneca was built on the principle that coordinated and integrated services lead to a more meaningful experience and more fruitful outcomes for students and families. All-In! leverages this experience to build programs that engage in shared problem solving across disciplines and integrate academic, behavioral, and social emotional services into a single plan for success. In addition, Seneca brings to the table the backing and collective expertise of 1,000+ staff, as well as access to agency services when confronted by barriers to students’ success. Supporting this expertise is the nationally recognized, accredited Seneca Institute for Advanced Practice, an unmatched proprietary resource for participating schools.
Seneca is founded on the belief that kids don’t fail, but that systems fail kids: successful outcomes can occur when systems are adjusted to fit young people's existing needs. The most essential mission is to apply this lens of unconditional care to the most struggling students in our schools, prompting out-of-the-box thinking to remove barriers to school success . The willingness to “do whatever it takes,” even when doing so proves to be a tremendous challenge, is a cornerstone of the Seneca service philosophy.
Throughout California and across the nation there is a significant educational crisis for our most troubled youth. Forty-two percent of youth do not graduate from high school, and many of those that do are unprepared for the educational or vocational endeavors to follow. The picture for our nation’s youth is bleak, and it is particularly troubling for young people who face additional barriers to accessing a quality education, including:
STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
Across the county, 40% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school. This is twice the rate of students without learning disabilities. Of those who do graduate, less than two percent attend a four year college, despite the fact that many are above average intelligence (Bost, 2008).
STUDENTS WHO EXPERIENCE CHRONIC STRESS AND TRAUMA
Children who experience complex trauma are three times more likely to drop out of school than their peers and have a greater tendency to be misclassified with developmental delays or referred for special education services (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network).
STUDENTS WHO ARE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
The percentage of students in our schools who are English Language Learners is growing. In the 2009-2010 school year, this student population represented 10% of all students, an increase of 2% from the previous year (The Condition of Education, 2012). Statistics in California show that during the same 2009-2010 school year, 56.6% of ELL students dropped out of high school (California Department of Education, 2012).
STUDENTS IN FOSTER CARE
Youth in foster care graduate at relatively low rates and are less likely to complete high school than their non foster care peers (National Working Group on Foster Care in Education, 2011).
STUDENTS WHO ARE ALREADY BEHIND
Students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma when compared to proficient readers. The number rises when those kids also come from poverty (Hernandez, 2012 ).
Attempts to improve outcomes for our nation’s most struggling youth have often been piecemeal and uncoordinated, leading to a system full of inefficiencies and producing limited results. As a broad based mental health provider and education agency, Seneca Family of Agencies aims to fill this gap by establishing meaningful partnerships that together weave a continuum of service offerings throughout a school that will ultimately target the individual needs of students and families while overall benefitting all members of the school community.