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Friday, February 9, 2018

Strive Campaign: Support the Cause by March 9th

Stephanie Balvaneda, RISE Scholar

SDSU Students RISE to the Challenge of Teaching

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Program Beginnings:

In 2000, San Diego State University partnered with the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) to create the Compact for Success program with a goal to bring new educational opportunities to Sweetwater graduates. The partnership involves SUHSD teachers working side-by-side with SDSU faculty to design a school curriculum that helps students meet specific requirements for college admissions. Today, the nationally recognized, award-winning program has increased Sweetwater’s college-going population by 120 percent.

Building on Success:

In an effort to build on this success and provide post-collegiate opportunities for Sweetwater students, SUHSD created the Return, Inspire, and become a Sweetwater Educator (RISE) Program, which encourages Compact Scholars to return to their high school district as teachers. Students who successfully complete all program requirements are guaranteed employment with the Sweetwater District in the critical teaching shortage area (math, science, or special education) in which their teaching credential was earned.

Stephanie Balvaneda (’14) is the first hire from the program and will be teaching math at Southwest High School, which is also where she completed her student teaching requirement. Because Balvaneda received her high school education in the district, she mirrors district demographics and has a background similar to many of the students she will teach.

“If my kids know that I came from the same place they did, I think it will inspire and push them and help them see that if you really put your mind to something, it is possible to do whatever it is that you want to do.

“I am excited to tell them, ‘I’m here, I know where you guys are, but if you just try really hard there is opportunity and that door is open if you want to take it.”

Support the Cause:

Balvaneda's RISE cohort was comprised of just three students, but the second cohort has nearly a dozen participants, and signs point toward continued growth. A recent event for Compact for Success scholars who are interested in teaching possibilities attracted almost 40 attendees!

To support RISE students, SDSU's College of Education created a scholarship to support program participants. Please consider a gift of any amount to help students achieve their collegiate and career goals.

For more information on the Compact Scholars and RISE programs, please visit