Date of Graduation

Summer 8-17-2016

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions



This report discusses the importance of educational attainment for the underserved community, particularly for youth raised in or near San Francisco’s Tenderloin. It identifies the reasons why low-income, first-generation students have trouble matriculating into college, and considers the current efforts that address this issue.

Based on the literature and the data analyzed, De Marillac Academy’s Graduate Support Program staff designed and implemented the Summer Support Workshop, a pilot program intended to assist high school graduates as they transition into post-secondary life. This paper presents the research and the findings that support the project’s development.


For underserved children and families, post-secondary education is an opportunity to alter life’s trajectory and escape from poverty. Educational attainment affects future generations and has significant financial, health, and social benefits. Although higher education is strongly encouraged by academic institutions and stakeholders, research reveals that due to the complexity of tasks and financial problems, many low-income, first-generation, and college-intending students alter or cancel their post-secondary plans. This phenomenon, recognized by Castleman and Page as the summer melt, has impacted the rates of college matriculation, retention, and educational attainment (2014). Subsequently, these challenges of educational enrollment and persistence are present among the graduates of De Marillac Academy; a fourth through eighth-grade Catholic institution that provides high-quality education to San Francisco’s underserved population.


De Marillac Academy supports students beyond its school walls with the Graduate Support Program, a six-phase program that aims to provide students with academic, financial, and social/emotional counseling during high school and post-secondary life. Despite the continuous care offered, the Graduate Support Program still faces challenges in meeting all of the student needs presented during the transitional period from high school and into post-secondary life. Students either do not enroll in the institution they intend to, or they do not persist through college. As a result, De Marillac Academy has chosen to increase its services and pilot the Summer Support Workshop, a comprehensive and educational program providing graduating seniors with the knowledge and skills needed for a life-changing transition.

To positively influence the community, state, and nation by improving college matriculation and retention in underserved populations, many institutions have designed summer programs that address academic content knowledge, academic behavior, cognitive skills, contextual skills, and mental health. Based on the current efforts identified in the recent literature and the primary data collected during surveys, focus groups, and interviews, this complex project will focus on seven key themes: time management, stress and mindfulness, finance, family support, campus resources, skills for the future, and persistence.


Kicking off on June 9, 2016, this mandatory, six-day program will occur at De Marillac Academy over eight weeks in June and July. This workshop, designed to focus on the seven aforementioned themes, will educate and support all graduating seniors on the daily skills necessary for post-secondary success and the essential skills for educational attainment. After completion of the workshop, the Graduate Support Program staff will review student evaluations and make any modifications needed for future program success. Implementing this project will provide researchers with more findings, support matriculation and retention among current and future high school graduates, and improve the level of educational attainment among those in the underserved community, thereby supporting the state and nation.