Treasure Island Charter School Offers Dorm for Troubled Students

For 20 years, San Francico's Treasure Island charter school has worked to turn failing students into brilliant individuals with a future through endeavors like individualized education and internship programs. Founded by the Delancey Street Foundation nonprofit, Treasure Island will soon feature a 6,000-square foot dormitory. Said dormitory will serve as a free residence for no more than 20 students.

Teri Delane, executive director for Treasure Island, commented that while several public schools already feature student housing, Treasure Island would be the first of its kind and a first within California. The big distinction with Treasure Island's dorm will be a focus on children that would otherwise be expelled or dropped out. Treasure Island has a rolling system of enrollment that includes 50 students. Classes are kept small at six to eight students and students spend their Fridays interning at businesses, public groups or nonprofit organizations. The students spend summers working jobs similar to their Friday obligations, with seniors also enrolling in education as San Bruno's Skyline College. Treasure Island also provides students with transportation and safety through dangerous areas via bus.

Over 200 students have graduated from Treasure Island since its establishment in 1998. While this figure may sound dishearteningly low, more than half of its alumni have suffered abuse, have criminal histories or suffered in traditional education. Despite of their traditional skepticism of charter schools, San Francisco's educational experts have been ardent supports of Treasure Island because it supports a unique student population that serves as a lifeline for "vulnerable" students.

Craig Miller, COO of Treasure Island, remarked that every student gets a unique experience, finishing with a diploma and plenty of opportunities to work and learn their strengths. Miller's sentiments regarding student housing mirrored those of Delane; both parties wanted kids to have a safer alternative than living in virtual homelessness. The two officials worked out the cost of $3.5 million in order to establish Treasure Island's dorm along the back lot of the leased campus. The school has raised $2.1 million in funding, including an anonymous loan of $1.5 million that was secured by Mayor Ed Lee prior to his December death. Treasure Island has taken out a loan to secure the remaining funding while it seeks benefactors. The final goal is to have a dormitory capable of housing at least 100 students; Delane commented that Treasure Island's wants to help its students as much as possible.


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