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Dept. of Education funds start of CSUEB 'Promise Neighborhoods' program


  • September 21, 2010

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized California State University, East Bay’s Promise Neighborhoods planning partnership with one of only 21 grants funded nationwide designated to help distressed neighborhoods improve the continuum of educational, health and social services.

The one-year grant for $499,406 is part of a federal program to create and provide “cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.” With the funding, CSUEB will lead the Hayward Promise Neighborhoods Partnership (HPNP) to focus on a neighborhood in South Hayward.

“Cal State East Bay is proud to be taking a leadership role in finding new solutions to some of the most serious, longstanding challenges that our community and its children face,” said CSUEB President Mohammad Qayoumi. “This will provide new hope and new means for members of our local community to get the educational and social support services they need to succeed.”

South Hayward’s population is estimated at 73,259 with a diverse ethnic makeup — 39% Hispanic, 26% White, 18% Asian, 10% African American and 19% other. The area is designated by federal standards as a “low income target area” with more than half of households at low to extremely low income levels. The median household and family income is well below that of Alameda County, and 36 percent of children under six years of age live below the poverty line.

The neighborhood schools, part of the Hayward Unified School District (HUSD), have performed below county and state averages in academic achievement, and have worsening results for graduation and dropout rates. Children in the community have elevated rates of obesity, asthma and diabetes; adults also have poor health outcomes.

“Cal State East Bay has been addressing the imbalances in education of poor and minority students with a hands-on, data-driven approach for years,” said Nan Maxwell, executive director of CSUEB’s Human Investment Research & Education Center, who prepared the proposal.

“This is our neighborhood, and we are eager to tackle the challenges with our partners to improve the outcomes for South Hayward’s children and revitalize a promising area,” she added.

CSUEB will be joined representatives from Chabot College, HUSD, the City of Hayward, 4C’s of Alameda County and the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program to form the project’s Management Team. A number of other regional partners will also contribute to the planning process as part of the Advisory Board, including public safety officials, government groups, non-profit organizations and local residents.

Maxwell said that the partnership will also look specifically at ways to emphasize improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and develop pathways to college — two of the priorities the university has designated as key to regional workforce development.

Qayoumi also noted the support of U.S. Representative Pete Stark in preparing and promoting the Promise Neighborhood partnership. “We thank Congressman Stark for his instrumental support for this initiative, which has the potential to benefit thousands of residents and their children,” he said. “His commitment to an economically and socially vibrant region and healthy communities — values that the university shares — is inspiring.”

CSUEB was one of just three projects funded on the West Coast, out of more than 300 applicants, according to Rhea Williamson, Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs. Following the planning period supported by this grant, she said the university will apply for a second phase grant to implement the plan for South Hayward.

Promise Neighborhoods is aligned with the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to focus and coordinate federal resources in order to build communities that promote cradle to career success.

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