El Observador – Catalyst to College Program Launched by ALearn
ALearn, a Bay Area non-profit helping students from low-income, underserved backgrounds achieve math proficiency and college readiness, today announced the launch of the Catalyst to College program, an intensive educational case management and mentoring program combining peer-to-peer support, college admissions preparation, and leadership development with a goal of getting students into college fully prepared. Catalyst to College was funded through a $500,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The launch of Catalyst to College follows a pilot of the 4-year program at East Side Union High School District’s Yerba Buena and Independence high schools, which began in August of 2016. Of the students enrolled in the pilot program, 41% are Latino, 34% Vietnamese, 12% Filipino, 7% Chinese, and 6% are Asian Indian, Cambodian or other Asian. Starting as rising sophomores and continuing through their first college semester, Catalyst to College engages and prepares high school students from low-income, underserved backgrounds for college by creating a college-going culture on their high school campuses and providing them with a peer support system in high school and through college. The program is focused on developing students' attitudes, commitment, and skills, including problem solving and accessing resources. Catalyst to College students have fun preparing for college by visiting college campuses, learning about and accessing educational support resources, engaging in cultural experiences that previously were only available to wealthier students (e.g., San Francisco’s Palace of the Legion of Honor), and getting personalized support in writing college essays, and applying for college admission and financial aid.