Day One’s Summer Skillz Designed for 7th and 8th Graders At Risk of Failing in School

Published : Monday, May 20, 2019 | 5:17 AM

Day One, Stars (formerly the Lake Avenue Community Foundation), and the Pasadena-based nonprofit College Access Plan, in collaboration with the Pasadena Unified School District, are once again coming together to host Summer SKILLZ, an intensive summer learning experience designed for 7th and 8th graders who are at risk of dropping out and failing to promote to 9th grade.

The program, which begins on June 3, is composed of two interactive sessions – a morning life skills session, and the afternoon math skills session.

The morning life skills sessions are designed to help students gain the life skills necessary to overcome life challenges and succeed academically and emotionally. The afternoon math skills session is designed to help students rebuild their confidence and relationship with math through interactive learning experiences.

Day One says the mission of SKILLZ is to create a loving environment where students can thrive.

“It’s really a great program that we put on for four weeks during the summer, an intensive summer learning experience for students who are at risk of not promoting to the 9th grade and who have been labeled as having behavioral issues in the classroom,” said Claudia Hathcock, Community Prevention Director with Day One.

“Some of them have many days that they missed school. And our goal with SKILLZ is to give them the life skills that they need, so when they go back to school in the fall, they’re prepared to be in a classroom setting to succeed academically and emotionally.”

Hathcock said the SKILLZ program started when PUSD was experiencing budget cuts and had to cut summer school.  At that time, Day One and other community groups came together and discussed some of the ways they could help fill the summer months with programming and activities, so students could continue to earn credits for their transcripts.

“We’re actually on the 11th year of SKILLZ, and now that the school district was able to bring summer school back, we’re still one of the most competitive programs,” Hathcock continued. “We usually have a waitlist of over 20, 30 students who want to get into the program because not only are they getting the credits and the units that they need for their transcripts, but they’re also getting the life skills that they need.”

Over the years, the program has been so successful at helping students at risk of dropping out that many of those who have gone through SKILLZ come back and volunteer their time.

“One of the best parts of it is that former students who participated in the SKILLZ program, who were struggling in school and were able to turn it around and are doing great and have gone off to college, they get to come back and volunteer during the program and they serve as really great mentors for the other students,” Hathcock said.

Sessions during the SKILLZ program are held at Lake Avenue Church, which begins June 3rd and conclude on July 3. Classes take place Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. And 2:45 p.m.

The morning session offers five elective units of Life Skills, and the afternoon session, also five elective units of Math Skills.

Students desiring to go through SKILLZ should fill up an application through and submit on or before May 15.

For more information, call Claudia Hathcock at (626) 229-9750 or email

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