The Umoja Model

Umoja is an essential on-the-ground partner for public schools and districts seeking to increase student attendance and engagement, reduce violence, promote academic achievement and increase graduation and college enrollment rates.

Umoja’s model of College & Career Readiness, Social & Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice creates the necessary conditions in schools for all students to achieve academically and ultimately succeed in college. Umoja is currently impacting more than 3,400 public high school students and more than 400 teachers at 13 core public high school partners across Chicago.


  • Only 8% of young people growing up in low income communities graduate college by age 24 (
  • In 2012, Chicago Public Schools had a graduation rate of 61% and a college enrollment rate of 56% (Chicago Public Schools, 2012).
  • High school graduates earn on average $130,000 more over the course of their lifetimes and college graduates earn at least $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school dropouts (Alliance for Excellent Education, September 2012).


Umoja executes programming side by side with students, teachers and administrators in 3 core innovation areas:

The research is clear: if schools are going to reach their academic goals, we must partner with students and equip adults to address social-emotional needs, provide a safe and restorative climate for learning, and connect students’ current educational experience to their future aspirations.