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What We Stand For: Student Success

Supporting Student Success

A White Paper by Kiara Alvarez Ferrer and Priscilla Aquino Garza for Stand for Children Leadership Center

Though current policy debates on school reform and improvement focus primarily on academic standards, a broader focus on supporting student success is necessary to give all students an equal chance to succeed. This is particularly important for schools serving students living in poverty, a disproportionate number of whom are also students of color. The impact of poverty on student achievement has been well-documented.  However, this is not an insurmountable problem. Research on high-performing schools serving children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged finds that these schools take direct action to support student success and proactively address barriers to student achievement.

Student support programs in the form of counseling services, enrichment programs, and drug prevention programs have existed in schools for decades. However, the most effective programs address the overall school environment and provide supports to all students, with an emphasis on building student strengths and preventing problems before they begin. This paper will discuss how to set up or organize schools that support student success via these three interrelated areas:

  • a safe and positive school environment
  • social and emotional learning
  • school-based after-school programs, extended learning time and summer learning

Well-designed interventions and programs in these areas have demonstrated effectiveness in improving student outcomes.

The rest of this paper is available as a PDF download:


Kiara Alvarez Ferrer is a doctoral student in School Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Priscilla Aquino Garza is the Deputy Director of Stand for Children Texas.

About Stand for Children Leadership Center

Stand for Children Leadership Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides leadership development and training to everyday citizens. Our mission is to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, college and career training. To make that happen, we:

  • Educate and empower parents, teachers, and community members to demand excellent public schools.
  • Advocate for effective local, state and national education policies and investments.

  • Ensure the policies and funding we advocate for reach classrooms and help students.

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Why Stand?

A message from Stand Leadership Center board member John Legend.