Marin City Academy of Health & Wellness

Seed Funding for Educational Innovation

Marin City Academy of Health and Wellness HS

Marin City has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in Marin County. In January 2018 we launched a program that combines preventative behavioral health with academics: the Marin City Academy of Health and WellnessSee the data behind educational inequity and Social Determinants of Health, and read this one-page program summary.

This private high school supports children with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) caused by racism, trauma and poverty. “Depending on where you live, up to 50% of Black boys do not finish school. That is an outrageous disparity,” said JayVon Muhammad, CEO. Six students were selected for the spring 2018 pilot based on our experience working with them in our Defenders and Girl Power youth programs. For the 2018-19 school year, we anticipate 10 students and welcome new students throughout the year. (See referral form below.)

We believe that African American educators and behavioral health support can help more Marin City youth to:

  • Increase their chances of completing high school
  • Study STEM and African American leadership, history and cultural influence
  • Set a foundation for college
  • Decrease the likelihood of incarceration
  • Increase earning potential

If you are interested, please complete the online forms to apply or refer a student below.

Refer a Young Person or Apply:

  • Where is the student currently attending school?
    Has anyone you know participated in The Defenders, Girl Power or the Quality of Life Road Trip?
  • Please tell us more about your interest in this program.
    Please check all that apply.

Or apply online here if you are interested in attending the Marin City Academy of Health & Wellness High school.

Funding Need

We thank these donors for funding our first year: Schow Foundation, Center for Care Innovations i-Lab, and private donors. In the 2018-19 academic year, this model for educational innovation as part of behavioral health for youth will include the following funding needs. Please email us for more information on how to support educational innovation as part of behavioral health for youth.

$200,000 budget detail for 2018-2019 academic year:

  • $45,000 (salary/benefits) for a consultant and educator with a masters in Math
  • $40,000 (salary/benefits) for an educator credentialed in English, History and/or Social Studies
  • $40,000 (instruction fee) for trades/employment readiness partnerships with Marin City Community Development Corporation, College of Marin, and others
  • $30,000 (travel) for field trips and experiential learning opportunities
  • $25,000 (supplies) for student books and materials
  • $20,000 (meals) for student breakfast and lunch

Supporting a MCHWC high school program benefits local employers with an educated potential workforce, where young adults have been provided with a well-rounded high school education as a foundation for their next steps into college or entering the local labor pool.

Breaking a Cycle of Poverty and Illness

Marin City has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in Marin County, and the percentage of individuals with a high school degree is sharply decreasing in the younger adult age groups. According to the 2015 American Community Survey:

  • 61% of Marin City residents age 25-34 have a high school degree or higher, compared to 85% of Marin County residents of the same age, and 81% of older Marin City residents (age 35-44).
  • 17% of residents in Marin City never finish high school, compared to 7% in Marin County.
  • 53% of Marin City residents with less than a high school degree live in poverty, compared to 3% of those with a Bachelor’s degree. (43% of Marin City residents who complete high school live in poverty, indicating that attaining a degree or GED is critical to increasing income.)
  • Marin County residents without a high school degree have median earnings of $18,665; high school graduates earn $29,919 (60% more); college graduates earn $65,543 (250% more).

Low educational attainment restricts a resident’s ability to obtain higher wage jobs and move out of the cycle of poverty. Children whose parents have low educational attainment are least likely to attend college and often continue the cycle of low-earning wages. As a community healthcare organization, we understand that to address the health needs of at-risk communities, we must create economic opportunity – especially for youth.

We believe this is a mental health issue.

Educational Equity as Behavioral Health

The Sausalito Marin City School District is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for civil rights violations: diverting funding away from Marin City’s diverse MLK/Bayside Academy (whose students are 78% African American and 90% qualify for free lunch program), to the Willow Creek charter school in neighboring Sausalito (which is 67% White and 35% low-income).

From 2012-2016, there was no full-time math or science teacher for the 150 students at MLK/Bayside. The new principal hired for the 2016-17 academic year resigned within the year. In fall 2017, school started three weeks late because leadership was in flux. Educational equity does not exist for poor students in Marin City.

Children from MLK/Bayside graduate from 8th grade with 3rd grade reading skills, yet are expected to survive and thrive in highly competitive southern Marin public high schools (Tamalpais, Redwood and Drake). When they struggle academically and become frustrated and angry, they are labeled as “troubled kids,” and often transferred to the Marin Department of Education’s alternative “County School,” thus perpetuating the cycle of poor education, lack of career options, and lifelong poverty.

(Section 48222 exempts children from compulsory public school attendance if they are being instructed in a private, full-time day school by persons capable of teaching, are taught in the English language on several branches of study, and that a registry of daily attendance is kept for all students. The Academy has an affidavit as a private school in compliance with Section 33190 of the California Educational Code and meets these requirements.)

About Marin City Health & Wellness Center

As an FQHC, MCHWC brings clinical behavioral health expertise to at-risk youth. Through year-round youth programs – The Defenders and Girl Power – and the summer Quality of Life Road Trip, we serve the wellness of Black teens. These programs are part of our larger vision of community transformation and neighborhood revitalization, by investing in the mental health of our most vulnerable families.

Our mission is to provide innovative health and wellness services to all, with the goal of African American health equity. Founded in 2006 to serve residents of public housing, we are uniquely located in historic Black communities and now have four clinics from San Rafael to San Francisco. MCHWC wellness services include primary medical, dental, behavioral healthcare, recovery services, midwifery and maternal care, health education, and leadership programs for Black teens. We proudly serve all ages and ethnicities.