Berkeley’s First Citywide College and Career Day

Pamela Harrison-Small, Executive Director

Andrea Taylor, Special Projects Coordinator Photos courtesy of Berkeleyalliance.org

By Danielle Savage Berkeley will hold its first citywide College and Career Day Friday, March 1, sponsored by the Berkeley Alliance and the UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships. Every school in city is organizing an activity for its students that day, including after school programs and pre-kindergarten schools. Activities will fit the age and needs of students at each school. LeConte Elementary, for example, will have a “Cap and Gown Photo Booth,” while 4th graders at Malcolm X Elementary will visit Laney College. Activities are designed to encourages students and their parents to think about and plan for the future. “What we want to do is for everyone in the community to send a message [to the students], which is, we have high expectations for you, we believe in you, and we support you. You can get to college or develop a career or both,” said Gail Kaufman, deputy director of the Center for Educational Partnerships. In addition to wanting schools to participate, Kaufman said, “It’s a day where we hope everyone in the community will share their own educational or career journeys to increase the talk about college and careers. Kids start seeing that the adults in their lives also had choices to make, [and] there are things that students can learn from that.” Andrea Taylor, special projects coordinator at the Berkeley Alliance, explained the ambitious goals that motivate the event. “We’re trying to close the achievement gap between whites and Blacks by the year 2020,” she said. “We have a theme for the day ‘Picture Yourself There.’ We want to help [children], especially students of color, to picture themselves going on and making something of themselves. “We want you to go and to excel where you are going, whether it’s a trade school, a two-year college [or a] four year college. “Our goal is to have students, families [and] teachers benefit.” Schools will bring in sororities, choirs and cheerleaders from different colleges. An event featuring dinner and film for adults will also be held. “The evening event is for families to become more involved. If we can’t get the family on board, it will be hard to get the students,” said Taylor. Because this is the program’s first year, it is concentrating on community outreach. “We’ve reached out to businesses, city and school officials, our community leaders and churches,” but there is still more to do, said Taylor. For more information, go to http://berkeleycollegeandcareerday.org/
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