Laying a foundation for a brighter future
The Central Valley is home to families and communities who work for and with The Wonderful Company. We believe a good education is the key to ending the cycle of multigenerational poverty — and the path to lifelong career opportunities.
So, we started Wonderful Education and built an extensive, all-encompassing program across the Central Valley, supporting students every step of the way through preschool, elementary school, high school, college, and career.
The early years of a child’s education are critical in creating a foundation for future success. Research shows that high-quality preschool programs significantly increase high school and college graduation rates. To start students off on the right track, we have established two nationally accredited, year-round preschools open 12 hours a day. They are nurturing, play-based environments for children ages 3 to 5, preparing them for elementary school, middle school, high school, and beyond.
Wonderful College Prep Academy
A great education begins with a nurturing, engaging, community-centered school environment, built on top of a strong and well-rounded academic foundation. That’s why we founded and continue to support Wonderful College Prep Academy (WCPA) through a unique partnership, to provide first-rate public education to students and their families.
With schools located in Delano and Lost Hills and a talented, dedicated faculty, WCPA sets students up to succeed in college and career—all for free. Wonderful College Prep Academy graduates leave as critical thinkers and lifelong learners, equipped to earn a college degree and become the next generation of leaders in the Central Valley.
As part of our ongoing support of WCPA, we have invested $155 million to build state-of-the-art K-12 campuses, creating an immersive learning environment with a college campus feel. Just some of the WCPA offerings include:
Small class sizes for individualized attention with compassionate and caring staff
Extended school days and longer academic years to maximize learning
World-class facilities such as fully equipped science and technology labs, music and art studios, weight rooms, and student wellness centers
And much more, all provided at no cost to students or their families
The results speak for themselves. WCPA student academic performance is among the best in Kern County. Nearly 100% of students graduate each year with their A-G diploma, and over 70% go on to attend a four-year college with a scholarship supported by Lynda and Stewart Resnick.
My visit to the Wonderful College Prep Academy charter schools left me impressed and inspired. I saw outstanding facilities, passionate educators, and engaged students who were thriving in ideal learning environments. Running through it all, from Pre-K to twelfth grade, was an ethic of respect and a joyful spirit of learning. It’s no surprise that the schools are showing significant gains in student academic performance.
Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.d.
President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
A Career-Focused Early College Model
We understand that one of the best ways to learn about any career is to experience it firsthand. That’s why we focus on helping students get college- and career-ready while still in high school.
Through the Wonderful Education Career Pathways Program, Central Valley students can earn a free associate degree when they graduate from high school. Starting in tenth grade, students at one of seven local public high schools can take community college courses right away and graduate with an associate degree in agriculture.
In addition to the agriculture program, the Wonderful College Prep Academy schools offer Pathway programs for Health & Wellness and Teach & Lead, where students can graduate with an associate degree for transfer in Public Health and Elementary Teacher Education, respectively.
Additionally, students at Shafter High School can participate in a four-course Industrial Automation Pathway that gives them a head start on their bachelor’s degree or a step ahead of their peers in the workforce once they graduate.
Critical to the success of our Career Pathways programs is the work-based learning experience students receive by participating in job shadows, career workshops, and paid internships.
As a result, this program can’t work without the support of our employees. To date, thousands of The Wonderful Company’s employees have given their time to these efforts. Pathways students are now often found in our orchards, processing plants, schools, health centers, and corporate offices.
In fact, the Pathways program has been so transformational that we now have siblings, cousins, and neighbors in our programs who were inspired by the success of their loved ones who blazed a trail just a few years ago.
While offering students this critical exposure, our employees have benefited as well. They’ve reported learning from these bright students’ fresh perspectives while getting management experience of their own.
Students, not their financial situation, should determine if and where they go to college. College scholarships help alleviate students’ and parents’ financial and emotional burdens associated with pursuing higher education. These scholarships are offered to graduates of the Wonderful Education Career Pathways Program and Wonderful College Prep Academy schools, as well as the children of every one of our Central Valley-based employees. In 2022, the Wonderful Community Scholarship Program expanded to include first-generation college students from high schools in Wasco and Shafter.
The program began in 1994 with five college scholarships. Since that time, almost 3,000 scholarships have been awarded, with 300 scholarships awarded to graduates annually. Remarkably, more than three-quarters of scholars are the first in their families to attend a four-year college or university. The scholarships are renewed annually, meaning that individual scholars have the opportunity to receive up to $30,000 in total assistance, provided they maintain their GPA.
But this program is about a lot more than just financial aid. Every student receives a dedicated coach who supports them through their college journey. Together, we make sure students are registered for the right college courses, ensure their financial aid is complete, and are connected with tutors, university counselors, and mental health resources at their school or Wonderful therapists to help manage the stresses of college and beyond.
From cradle to career, Wonderful Education provides the resources every student needs to lead a successful life.