University Awarded $3.4 Million Grant to Help Low-Income Students Prepare for College

The United States Department of Education has selected Cal Poly Pomona as a recipient of a grant worth $3.4 million over five years. The funding will allow Cal Poly Pomona professors and Hacienda La Puente Unified School District personnel to establish Project REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement and College Honors).

Project REACH aspires to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education by lending support to students, teachers and parents, said Richard Navarro, project director and dean of Cal Poly Pomona?s College of Education and Integrative Studies. The grant focuses on students at La Puente High School and two of its feeder schools, Sparks Middle School and Lassalette Elementary School.

First, an academic support system will be developed and implemented for students that will encourage academic achievement and enrollment in higher education. Possible activities include Saturday Academies, tutoring, college courses and individual educational plans. Educators will receive assistance through new professional development activities, such as workshops, conferences and coaching from National Board Certified teachers. Outreach and educational opportunities will also be offered to parents to increase their knowledge and interest in higher education. Parent advisory groups and centers will be formed. Counseling, parenting classes and adult education courses will also be accessible by Project REACH families.

For five years, $676,853 will be provided annually to fund these components. Once federal funding terminates, organizers believe Project REACH systems and structures will be established and can continue to be implemented.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, headed by superintendent Edward Lee Vargas, is one of the largest suburban school districts in the state with more than 22,000 students. Other partners in the grant include the Los Angeles Educational Partnership (LAEP), Los Angeles County Sheriff?s Department and Mt. San Antonio College.