CSUSB president encourages early preparation for students in ‘Super Sunday’ message promoting college education

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Cal State San Bernadino President Tomás D. Morales spoke to churchgoers in Rancho Cucamonga on the importance of preparing young African-Americans for college starting at preschool and continuing through elementary school, middle school and high school.

“Parents and grandparents, you need to be paying attention to your child as you negotiate the K-12 arena,” said Morales to members of the Immanuel Praise Fellowship church during a Sunday morning service.

Morales was part of the California State University’s Super Sunday higher education initiative, which encourages students to pursue college as CSU leaders, trustees, campus presidents and alumni visited 100 African-American churches across the state to talk about preparing for college.

College preparation was especially crucial in the inland region in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Morales said.

“We have the lowest baccalaureate degree attainment rate of any metropolitan area in the United States with over one million people,” Morales said. “There are 4.6 million people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and I mention both counties because that’s what Cal State San Bernardino, that’s what we serve; 85 percent of our students come from either San Bernardino or Riverside County.”

Morales urged the congregants to get their children into preschool programs similar to the ones at Immanuel Praise Fellowship.

Along with preschool, Morales mentioned several other grades that are especially important, such as the third grade where children “start to learn by reading, and so you need as a parent to make sure your child is reading at the third-grade reading level.”

Sixth grade is crucial for the importance of taking sixth-grade math, and as they enter high school, Morales urged parents to make sure their children are taking classes that fulfill the A-G requirements.

The A-G requirements are a sequence of high school courses in the subjects of history, English, mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English, visual and performing arts, and college-prep electives.

“You want to tell school officials that you want your child in the A-G curriculum because in the state of California, in order to be admitted, in order to even qualify, in order to even apply to the California State University system or University of California system — which your taxes pay for by the way — your child will have to have completed that curriculum,” Morales said.

The president also encouraged high school students and college students who had not taken the A-G courses.

“Cal State San Bernardino is working very, very closely with (San Bernardino) Valley College, Chaffey, and the Riverside Community College District to develop these 2+2 pathways. So if in fact if you’re a (high school) junior and you find yourself needing the A through G, life is not over for you,” Morales said. “Go on to a community college. We have wonderful community colleges and get into the ADT Associates Degree Transfer program. You can still move on and earn your baccalaureate degree even if you graduate from high school without the A-G.”

After the service, students and parents at Immanuel Praise Fellowship had the opportunity to meet CSUSB staff in admissions and financial aid.

More than one million people have received this message through Super Sunday outreach efforts over the last 13 years with more than 100,000 congregants, students and families slated to do so again this year.

Participants also received information about Graduation Initiative 2025, CSU’s initiative to increase graduation rates while eliminating achievement and equity gaps. CSU resources will be provided to help students and families foster a college-going culture at home, including information about preparing for college, applying to a CSU campus and applying for financial aid.

CSU Super Sunday began more than a decade ago as a collaboration between the CSU, its campuses and predominantly African-American churches throughout California.

To strengthen the collaboration between Super Sunday churches and CSU campuses, the CSU launched a tool mapping college readiness at high schools near Super Sunday churches throughout California. The CSU also created a grant opportunity to support campuses in developing yearlong programming with Super Sunday churches and other faith-based organizations to strengthen college readiness.

CSU Super Sunday is one of many events supported by the CSU community to increase the preparation, retention and graduation of African-American students. The year-round partnership between the CSU and African-American community leaders throughout the state provides additional outreach, support and preparation events such as college and career fairs, financial aid completion workshops, Cal State Apply clinics and more.

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