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Castlemont Receives $2M for College Completion From the Oakland Promise


Monday, Oct. 3, 2016

Castlemont High School Receives $2M to Support College Completion Through Expansion of Oakland Promise 


OAKLAND, CA -- Today, Oakland School Board President James Harris, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Foundation Chief Executive Officer Fred Blackwell joined students and leaders to announce the expansion of the Oakland Promise to Castlemont High School thanks to a $2 million gift from a group of anonymous donors.  

“One of our primary goals at OUSD is to triple the number of college graduates from Oakland within 10 years. The partnerships and resources coming together through the Oakland Promise help us ensure that every student graduates high school prepared for success in college, career and community,” Superintendent Antwan Wilson said. “Opening this new Future Center at Castlemont High School creates opportunities for greater access to the resources students need to enroll in and complete college.” 

In addition to the $2 million donation facilitated by the San Francisco Foundation, The East Bay College Fund, a lead Oakland Promise agency, has earmarked $200,000 a year for persistence support that will benefit four graduating Castlemont classes for all four years of their college journeys. 

“The Oakland Promise provides an exceptional opportunity for all the young people at Castlemont by ensuring access to college and removing one of the most significant barriers to college attendance -- money,” said Castlemont Assistant Principal Michael Scott. “We are tremendously fortunate to be beneficiaries of this opportunity.”

The Castlemont expansion marks the third Oakland high school to launch an Oakland Promise Future Center. The Future Center is a school-based advising center providing the nearly 700 students support in college and career planning, access to technology, and targeted support from college and career specialists as they apply for high leverage internships, college, financial aid, and scholarships. As a part of the Oakland Promise, qualified Castlemont students will receive multi-year scholarships to postsecondary educational institutions (including technical, 2 year and 4 year) paired with persistence supports such as one to one mentors, counseling, retreats, peer mentoring and other services through the East Bay College Fund. 

“I am thrilled that Castlemont High School is the newest addition to the expanding roster of Oakland schools benefitting from the Oakland Promise,” said Oakland Mayor Schaaf. “The generosity of these donors is a vote of confidence in our students and the power of the Oakland Promise to change lives and transform our community. Thanks to this gift, over the next four years every Castlemont student will be able to take advantage of a fully-equipped, on-campus Future Center to help prepare them to pursue a postsecondary education. They will also have access to multi-year scholarships and persistence support that will ensure they successfully complete that journey.” 

“We are thrilled to partner with our donors to support these ambitious students in the pursuit of their career and academic goals,” said San Francisco Foundation Chief Executive Officer Fred Blackwell. “We believe that every young person in the Bay Area should have access to academic opportunity. This is an important step towards making that vision a reality and we hope it will inspire others to make bold investments that insure a bright future for our young people and our region.” 

In 2014-15, 63 percent of graduating seniors from Castlemont enrolled in postsecondary education within a year of high school graduation. With the launch of this Future Center, the Oakland Promise expects this to increase over the next few years to over 80 percent. The Oakland Promise pilot Future Centers launched last year at Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA) and Oakland High School are already demonstrating success. Last year, CCPA had 100% of students complete applications for federal financial assistance (FAFSA and Dream App), doubled the number of University of California applications, and had the highest high school cohort graduation rate in the school’s history. Oakland High School students received ten times more scholarship support from East Bay College Fund and dramatically increased their college applications. 

On June 3, the Oakland Promise, in collaboration with East Bay College Fund, sent 300 students from Oakland High, CCPA, and across Oakland to college with multi-year scholarships and persistence support.

“Completing college requires more than financial support. Our organization is committing mentors, counseling, peer groups, and retreats, to help students finish college,” said Executive Director of the East Bay College Fund Diane Dodge. “The fund has supported 63 Castlemont students since 2003 and now will support every eligible student for the next four years.”