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Farmers to Pioneers: A Pipeline to College Success


  • March 1, 2016

Cal State East Bay and Hayward Unified School District, partners in the Hayward Promise Neighborhood Initiative, have come together to launch the Farmers to Pioneers program — a pathway for first-generation Hayward High School students to begin college at Cal State East Bay.

According to organizers, the intention of Farmers to Pioneers is to help students and their parents develop the skills and motivation necessary for student success in higher education. The program promotes academic achievement in school course work, community leadership, family engagement and a “college-going culture.”

“Farmers to Pioneers is a natural extension of the work Cal State East Bay is doing with Hayward Promise Neighborhood, ensuring all students who want to go to college have the tools and resources needed to become successful in college, and transition to a rewarding career,” said Carolyn Nelson, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs for Cal State East Bay.

The name Farmers to Pioneers is a reference to the two schools' mascots — the Hayward High Farmers and the Cal State East Bay Pioneers. 

Through Farmers to Pioneers students will receive:

  • academic tutoring and study skills
  • mentoring
  • personal values and career assessments
  • job exploration and shadowing opportunities
  • college campus visits
  • financial aid information/application assistance and much more

A key component of Farmers to Pioneers is the inclusion of parents. Students receive weekly academic support and participate in various workshops once a month. Simultaneously, their parents are enrolled in workshops designed to ensure they too are prepared to support their students in transitioning into college.

“By high school, parents are typically disengaged with their child’s academics,” said Hope Cranford, outreach and admissions coordinator for CSUEB’s Educational Opportunity Program. “High school is a crucial time for parents to be involved because their child is making academic, social and personal decisions that will impact the rest of their life.”

“Parent involvement is vital because it creates a strong foundation for parents to truly understand what is needed for their child to thrive in college,” added Janevette Cole, Hayward Promise Neighborhood community resident engagement specialist.

In its inaugural year, Farmers to Pioneers launched with 22 10th grade students from Hayward High School. The goal is to recruit 20 new first-generation, low-income and foster youth each academic year, who will participate in the program until high school graduation. Following graduation, each student will have the opportunity to automatically enroll in Cal State East Bay’s Educational Opportunity Program as a college freshman.

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