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College Track Launches in Sacramento

NEW ACADEMIC CENTER IN OAK PARK POISED TO PARTNER WITH HUNDREDS OF LOW-INCOME, FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS TO ACHIEVE DREAM OF A COLLEGE DEGREE

College Track will initially serve 62 Sacramento Charter High School students by providing comprehensive college preparation services

New after-school site made possible with support from Mayor Johnson and major corporate partners

Sacramento, CA — College Track, a national college completion program that empowers students from underserved communities to reach their dream of a college degree, celebrated the grand opening of its seventh national site alongside Mayor Kevin Johnson, Chase, and the California Endowment. The new center, located in the Oak Park neighborhood, is the culmination of a strategic partnership between College Track, Mayor Kevin Johnson, St. Hope Public Schools, and Sacramento Charter High School in response to the unmet educational needs in the community. Presently, nearly half of Oak Park adult residents have not earned a high school diploma, and only eight percent have a college degree.

Through partnerships like this one, Mayor Johnson has set in motion a collective movement to proactively improve education outcomes for Oak Park students. "Launching College Track in Sacramento has been a multi-year effort of this community. This is a high quality, proven program, and with four sites across California, I knew they had to have a presence in the State Capitol. College Track will join forces with K12, colleges, universities and community partners to ensure that all students are fully capable of not only enrolling, but graduating from college in Sacramento," said Mayor Johnson. City Year, Reading Partners, and Teach for America are among other local and national organizations that form part of the movement to transform the future of Oak Park students.

In 2012, Mayor Johnson was invited to deliver the keynote address to College Track’s graduating high school class. It was then that he learned about the transformative work College Track had been doing for the past 15 years, and decided to make College Track part of his vision for Oak Park. College Track boasts an impressive 92 percent four-year college acceptance rate and students graduate from college at two and a half times the national average for low-income students. College Track Sacramento’s first class, comprised of 62 freshmen, makes up nearly 25 percent of the entering freshman class at Sacramento Charter High School; each of them will receive comprehensive support for up to ten years—from the summer before ninth grade through college graduation.

Thomas Muñoz, College Track Sacramento’s site director and former teacher at Sacramento Charter High School, recognizes the transformative, long-term effect College Track will have in the community: “College Track Sacramento is the newest piece of the puzzle. We’re developing leaders who will grow up here, go to school here, go off into the world, graduate from college, and return to give this place new life,” he said.

College Track programs in other cities are seeing students return to their communities and pay it forward in more ways than one. Students like Nelson Sagastume, a College Track alum from East Palo Alto, who is currently attending UC Davis in the Sacramento area, is now involved as a fellow at the Sacramento site.

Today, College Track works alongside 2,000 high school and college students throughout the country to obtain their dream of a college degree.

Students, parents, educators, and community partners alike have their sights set on the future, and recognize that the work toward improving tomorrow starts today. This sense of urgency made it possible to open College Track Sacramento. Seed funders include: Chase, The California Endowment, AT&T, The Buzz Oates Group of Companies, Kaiser Permanente, Social Venture Partners, The University of Phoenix, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. Chase is College Track’s lead corporate sponsor in California. Today, it announced a $200,000 grant for College Track Sacramento. This award is an addition to the $2 million Chase has given College Track over the last two years for its work across California. “At Chase, we believe in investing in our future," said Erik Langeland, head of the commercial bank for Chase in Sacramento. "We are inspired by these students. They are our future employees and clients. We are excited to work with College Track to help them achieve their goals.”

At fourteen, Samone Tillman, is also looking ahead to the future; “In June 2022, I imagine myself waking across a stage as I hear my name being called. I picture the big smile that will be on my mother’s face – proud of me for earning a business degree from Clark Atlanta, Spelman, or UNLV. I know my hard work and ambition will get me to this point.” With dedication and determination, Tillman and her peers will gain the tools and receive the resources and guidance necessary to earn a college degree. In doing so, they will set the expectation for those to come.

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