The Hayward Promise Neighborhood Partnership (HPNP), led by California State University, East Bay with the City of Hayward, Hayward Unified School District and other community partners, will expand its reach this year to pre-school aged children in the lower income areas of South Hayward.
A $980,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Mich. will fund early childhood education components of the Promise Neighborhood project over three years.
The HPNP aims to improve educational opportunities and services for students and families in the Jackson Triangle, a diverse region near the CSUEB Hayward campus. In December 2011, the partnership was one of five nationwide selected to receive federal grants as part of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.
Prof. Lettie Ramirez (teacher education) directs the programs under the WKKF grant, which began in September. With the funding, HPNP will build pre-kindergarten programs, launch parent education and develop a variety of services for families.
“Parents establish the foundation for student success, but they may not be familiar with the school system,” Ramirez said. “We need to inform them and make resources available.”
Sessions during the school year will help parents learn the communication and leadership skills they need to support their children's education and ensure equitable educational opportunities.
HPNP will also train parent leaders, who will work with other parents on school reform efforts and facilitate communication between families and schools. They will foster leadership skills among the community, to encourage participation in leadership opportunities at the district level, city, and national level, Ramirez explained.
The goal of these sessions is to “increase academic achievement for all diverse background students and establish a meaningful parental engagement,” she said.
These activities are modeled after Project INSPIRE, a federally funded partnership between the California Association of Bilingual Education, the Alameda County Office of Education and San Bernardino County’s Superintendent of Schools. In underserved areas like the Jackson Triangle, many students are not proficient in English, Ramirez noted. Working with families in their first language can better prepare students to learn English and succeed academically.
A portion of grant funding has also been used to order computers for parent information centers, where families can obtain information and participate in training sessions.
Future projects stemming from the WKKF funding will include a conference on early childhood education, planned for February 2013, more family and community workshops and service learning opportunities for CSUEB undergraduate and graduate students.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 13,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.