Early School Success



In 2012, Somos shifted its organizational strategy and moved all programmatic work under the In Our Hands (IOH) initiative, which focuses on early school success and relies on a network of community residents to close the opportunity gap. Since the launch of the initiative, Somos has trained a total of 166 Promotores who have worked directly with a total of 4,179 children and adults. Our efforts have supported a 43% gain in school readiness and a 50% gain in 3rd grade reading proficiency, both key indicators for educational success. Somos’ approach of boosting parent engagement and community leadership through our Promotor Model has been effective in supporting school success, which research has shown is key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

  1. Family Resource Center

Through our Family Resource Center at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, students and parents within the Alum Rock catchment area have access to program activities that are rooted in evidenced-based practices and home-grown solutions aimed at increasing early education opportunities.

Family Resource Center (FRC) Model


  1. Parenting Workshops

Evidenced-based curriculums (SEEDS, Triple P, 24/7 DAD, and Abriendo Puertas) are developed specifically to increase literacy skills, developmental assets and positive parent engagement. The curriculums draw on participants’ real-life experiences and cultural strengths.

  1. Reading Circles

As one of the first community-led programs, reading circles continues to be a significantly important space in our strategy where parents are directly reading with their children in their preferred language. Parents have organized book drives to ensure access to bilingual books and stories, drive the mobile library across the neighborhood and promote key activities to encourage reading in the home and community. This year we will launch reading circles at three different schools and partner with the San Jose Public Library to conduct literacy programming at the Cesar Chavez FRC.

  1. Raising A Reader / e-Reader

This is an evidenced-based, nationally recognized program that will ensure all transitional-kinder (TK) and kindergarten classes have access to literacy materials at home through a weekly book bag rotation. As part of this work, staff will work with the school to deliver two fun literacy events! This year we will grow this program to three different schools for teachers who are interested in integrating into classroom curriculum. In partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Learning in Action, we also rotate kindles with RAR books to a TK classroom in Chavez to explore engagement with technology and reading.

  1. Escuelita

While Mayfair parents participate in workshops or other programming, their children participate in an on-site quality child care program that is aligned with parenting workshops and engages them in age-appropriate, quality early learning activities. This year we are partnering with the director of early learning in Alum Rock Union School District to develop early learning framework aligned with state standards.

  1. Bridge To Kinder

This is a three-week, school readiness program for incoming kindergarteners – and their parents – who will attend eight local elementary schools at four sites (Adelante, McCollam, San Antonio and Arbuckle). Parents simultaneously engage in promotora-facilitated parent workshops to learn strategies for best supporting their children throughout their educational journeys. Students will receive an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to ensure students are developmentally on track for early literacy skills and will receive a one-on-one to receive their ASQ results and build a trusting relationship with the families.