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Student Academic Success & Educational Equity Programs Division of Student Affairs

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Sacramento State First Star Academy

The Sacramento State First Star Academy for Foster Youth at California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) is a collaborative effort by California State University, Sacramento; First Star Inc.; the Sacramento County Child, Family, and Adult Services Department (DCFAS), and other local stakeholders.

The Sacramento State First Star Academy is a free, comprehensive four-year college readiness program for students currently experiencing foster care that aims to provide the academic support, enrichment, resources, and encouragement needed to assist youth in becoming competitive college applicants to enroll and succeed in college.

The program engages high school students in a variety of fun and active learning opportunities that include college credit, priority registration, independent studies, social/cultural activities, field trips, service learning, recreational activities, and a Sac State residential summer experience. We offer caregiver support and resources as well as advocacy in child welfare and school meetings.

Each summer scholars live on the Sacramento State campus in the Residence Hall, take courses, develop skills to help them succeed in high school and prepare for college while soaking in the college environment and learning about college life while still attending high school. Scholars develop close relationships with supportive staff, and college student youth mentors who understand the unique obstacles they face on their educational journeys.

During the academic year, scholars continue to receive ongoing support and programming through monthly Saturday Sessions on campus to provide them with academic and personal support through tutoring, mentoring, college and career/major exploration, and many other services. The program provides an academically challenging program curriculum and addresses specific areas/needs of high school students experiencing foster care.

All scholars participating in the program are also assigned youth mentors who are Sacramento State students who provide academic and life skills assistance. Youth Mentors review students' school records, track their progress towards high school graduation, and identifies and secures any supports needed to succeed in school. They work with the youths’ caregivers, and schools to develop an academic plan for high school graduation and admissions to higher education.

Youth Mentors work with scholars to ensure they are prepared for adulthood. Youth mentors focus on psycho-social and self-efficacy skills, and include topics such as budgeting, nutrition, healthy relationships, substance abuse, gender identity, along with learning about and practicing everyday needs to become an independent young adult.

Sacramento State First Star Academy works with social workers, attorneys, and CFT teams to advocate for scholar and track placement moves and engage caregivers to ensure they have the supports needed to support youth academically. The goal of these efforts is to ensure that youth transition into adulthood with strong relationships with adults who can provide ongoing and continued support. Sacramento State First Star Academy’s goal is to provide long term support and lay a foundation for success.


Contact Us

Linda Howe-Ram Headshot PhotoLinda Howe-Ram, MA (She/Her)
Director, Foster & Community Youth Initiatives
Student Affairs | Student Academic Success & Educational Equity Programs | (916) 278-6262

Photo of Madkins LatriceLatrice M. Madkins (She/Her)
Program Lead & Academy Director
Student Affairs | Student Academic Success & Educational Equity Programs | (916) 278-8721

Victoria Garcia Headshot PhotoVictoria Garcia (She/They)
Program Advisor
Student Affairs | Student Academic Success & Educational Equity Programs | (916) 278-5273

Mailing Address:

California State University, Sacramento | 6000 J Street | Lassen Hall 2006, MS 6068 | Sacramento, CA 95819

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