Valley education leaders will launch the Central Valley Promise campaign today (Nov. 2) in front of an audience of 600 students grades 6-11, elected officials and community leaders at Fresno State’s Save Mart Center from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
The Central Valley Promise is a community-wide effort to promote college as a viable option for youth in the region. To increase access to higher education, students participating in the Central Valley Promise will attend their first semester at a community college for free.
The promise will also offer students admission to one of the local community colleges or Fresno State if they meet the minimum requirements.
Through the Central Valley Promise app, students and parents will pledge to take proactive steps in middle and high school to prepare for higher education. This includes attending college fairs, visiting college campuses, applying for FAFSA or DACA and regularly meeting with counselors.
Valley students from Firebaugh-Las Deltas, Fresno, Kings Canyon, Mendota and Sanger Unified School Districts are the first to participate in the promise, which will roll out to other school districts in phases.
These districts will partner with Fresno City College, Reedley College, West Hills College Coalinga and Fresno State to establish pathways to attend their institutions.
Those in attendance will have the first public glance at the first-ever College Promise app.
The app will be administered through school districts to remind students of their pledge, provide access to resources and scholarship opportunities and notify students and parents of deadlines to meet college-admission requirements.
When students take an action outlined in the pledge, like attending a college fair, they will receive badges on the app that count toward a special reward.
Students from Kings Canyon Unified School District will take a campus tour from 9 to 10 a.m. All other districts will take the tour from noon to 1 p.m. This will be many students’ first tour of any university campus. By the end of the day, they will have an important action task in the pledge already completed.
Martha Kanter, the current director of the national College Promise campaign and former under secretary for President Barack Obama, will speak to students at the launch about the opportunities that will come with this support for students to attend college through this collaborative effort.
The Central Valley Promise is modeled after promises throughout the state of California, including cities like Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland.
In Long Beach, more than 75 percent of seniors have enrolled in college since the introduction of the promise in 2008. The overall graduation rate for students who followed the pathway to California State University, Long Beach is 67 percent in six years.