R.I.S.E. Program

Return, Inspire and be a Sweetwater Educator

In 2000, San Diego State University partnered with the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) to create the Compact for Success program with a goal to bring new educational opportunities to Sweetwater graduates. The partnership involves SUHSD teachers working side-by-side with SDSU faculty to design a school curriculum that helps students meet specific requirements for college admissions. Today, the nationally recognized, award-winning program has increased Sweetwater’s college-going population by 120 percent.

In an effort to build on this success and provide post-collegiate opportunities for Sweetwater students, SUHSD created the Return, Inspire, and become a Sweetwater Educator (RISE) Program, which encourages Compact Scholars to return to their high school district as teachers. Students who successfully complete all program requirements are guaranteed employment with the Sweetwater District in the critical teaching shortage area (math, science, or special education) in which their teaching credential was earned.

For more information: 

RISE Program Flyer

Stephanie Balvaneda

Stephanie Balvaneda (’14) was the first hire from the program and teaches math at Southwest High School, which is also where she attended high school, and where she completed her student teaching requirement. Because Balvaneda received her high school education in the district, she mirrors district demographics and has a background similar to many of the students she will teach.

“If my kids know that I came from the same place they did, I think it will inspire and push them and help them see that if you really put your mind to something, it is possible to do whatever it is that you want to do."

"I am excited to tell them, ‘I’m here, I know where you guys are, but if you just try really hard there is opportunity and that door is open if you want to take it.”