1 out of 3 students in California cannot name a single caring adult at school.

In a time when public education is under attack, when we are facing a national teacher shortage, and when young people experience fear and isolation in their schools, we need a solution that works for all of us.

That solution is Relationship Centered Schools.

Relationship Centered Schools breaks down walls and brings people together so that every student can reach their full potential regardless of race or zip code. Relationship Centered Schools value student voice, invest in staff, and create spaces for relationship building.

Download the Relationship Centered Schools info brief

Oakland   San Jose   Fresno   Long Beach

Let’s Change This.

After surveying 2,000 students and interviewing 65 school leaders across the state, students know that the key to achieving equity in California’s public schools are the relationships between school staff and students. Together, we can ensure that all students have a caring adult on campus.


When students have at least one caring adult in their schools so much more becomes possible for student success.

“The number one foundation to learning is relationships. All young people need five caring adults, it takes ALL adults.” – Curtiss Sarikey, Community Engagement Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District

“Relationships between teachers and students are the key to closing the Achievement Gap for students of color.” – Karrionne Stokes, Californians for Justice Long Beach Student Leader

As we continue to build the momentum of our Believe In Me Campaign, students from across the state will be organizing to create a culture where relationships matter. Student leaders identified the following issues and solutions to ensure that every student graduates prepared for college, career, and community leadership:



  • Pledge now to Build Relationships, Not Walls
  • Follow the Believe In Me Campaign on social media: #RelationshipCenteredSchools #RelationshipsNotWalls
  • Join the statewide campaign to make sure every student has a caring adult through relationship-centered schools.


— Find out more about the Believe In Me Campaign in the media:

‘Destined for Great Things’: Low-income Students Ask Educators To Believe They Can Succeed by EdSource

“I am a leader.” “I am not ghetto.” “I am not incapable of being interested in mathematics and the sciences.” “I am destined for great things.” As part of a new school reform campaign, a statewide coalition of students from low-income families is posting statements on Twitter and Facebook that are both poignant and backed by research about system change: If you want schools to improve, they say, believe in us.

How One Student Asked The State To Tackle A Looming Education Question by LAtimes

“Imagine if you are 16 years old. It’s only Tuesday, and all you have left is $10,” Sky Lowe, a junior at Oakland High School, said to the California State Board of Education on Wednesday. “You sit there and you ponder: … Will it be bus money to get to school, or will it be laundry detergent for clean clothes? You can open your eyes now.” It’s a decision he was forced to make after his mother lost her job.
The student was one of several who addressed the State Board of Education at its January meeting Wednesday. At stake is the entire foundation of the state’s education system: how California’s public schools are evaluated for their performance.