An Implementation Study of the Students with Amazing Goals (SWAG) Program: Year One
In response to truancy and low graduation rates among low-income and ethnic minority youth in San Mateo County, the County’s Manager’s Office initiated in 2015 the Students with Amazing Goals (SWAG) program. SWAG seeks to reduce truancy and increase high school completion among the region's vulnerable youth. In collaboration with SWAG leaders and staff, Gardner Center researchers began a three-year implementation and outcomes study of the program. Through a multi-method research design, we aim to produce a complete picture of the SWAG program, including detailed information about the views and experiences of students, families, leaders, and staff. This report highlights findings from the first year of our study, trends in high school graduation, and information about the Bay Area communities where many SWAG youth reside. We identify the components of the SWAG theory of change and how it informed our data collection and analysis. Next, guided by the four program assumptions that underlie SWAG, we discuss emergent themes and patterns found in the data regarding the program's strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Finally, we conclude by highlighting issues, conditions, and processes that may help refine the program's goals, strategies, and service deliver as it moves into its second year of operations.
Biag, M., Leos-Urbel, J., Henderson, J., Ornelas, C., and Gerstein, A. (2016). An Implementation Study of the Students with Amazing Goals (SWAG) Program: Year One. Stanford, CA.: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities.