Academic Programs


Achievement Via Individual Determination


The Foundation provides funding to all of our middle and high schools for tutor/mentors, field trips to colleges and special events. AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness program that increases schoolwide learning and performance. The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS) accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.

Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple – raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What differentiates AVID from other educational reform programs is its astounding success rate. Since 2005, nearly 125,000 AVID students have graduated from high school and planned to attend college. Of the 27,891 AVID graduates in 2011, 91% plan to attend a postsecondary institution; 58% in four-year institutions and 33% in two-year institutions.

Happy little boy exploring nature with magnifying glass at the day time

Kids Explore

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation is pleased to announce a new collaboration with "Kids 'Explore' After School," an organization created by three local moms with elementary aged children always on the look out for excellent after school classes for kids. SCEF and 'Explore' will offer a wide range of affordable, quality enrichment programs to all SCCS elementary schools that allow kids to follow their passions and explore new activities in the security of their own school.  This will benefit our children, families, schools, and community by providing kids with unique learning experiences; and, we will support busy parents -- no need to pick up and drive to an activity: all classes will be taught on school grounds by skilled instructors and coaches.  Classes, between 10-15 students each, will typically be 1 hour long for 8-10 weeks offered in the fall and spring and include topics of: STEM, language, sports, music, and art.  Scholarships will be available to families in need.
With this collaboration, SCEF and 'Explore' can streamline district-wide enrichment programming, which will provide more equitable access for all interested kids to participate in after school classes that increase student achievement and engagement. Our district-wide after school enrichment programming efforts will begin this coming school year, 2018-2019.
For more information please contact

Outdoor Science School

Ten years ago, the decades long tradition of sending 5th graders to Outdoor Science School came to an end due to budget cuts. Teachers and families noticed immediately the impact the loss had on classroom learning. The Santa Cruz Education Foundation stepped forward to restore the program and facilitate logistical coordination.

Today, every 5th grader has the opportunity, regardless of ability to pay, to attend a week-long hands on science experience led by expert naturalists and accompanied by their classroom teachers. In their field week, they become inspired learners, independent individuals and knowledgeable stewards of their environment.

Santa Cruz City Schools students show outstanding test scores in middle school science – the result of a community effort to ensure that all students receive not only classroom instruction, but also hands-on experience in a natural setting.

Outdoor Science School is made possible by a strong collaboration between our business community, the elementary school parent organizations, Santa Cruz City Schools and the Foundation.