What is CAD PATH?

Early childhood educators have long faced persistent and pervasive barriers to degree attainment and professional development.  Among the most challenging of these barriers are those constraints rooted in the higher education system.  Promoting Achievement Through Higher Education (PATH), jointly housed within the Marian Wright Edelman Institute and the Department of Child & Adolescent Development (CAD), was designed specifically to break down these barriers within and across institutions of higher education and to build a model infrastructure for degree attainment and professional development efforts in the field of early childhood education.

CAD PATH supports the San Francisco early childhood educator workforce through a sequenced pathway that provides participants with community-based tutoring, individualized case management, college success skills-building, strategies to strengthen self-efficacy, seamless transitions across participating educational institutions, and overall guidance to support early childhood professionals in reaching their academic goals.  

Participants in the program must be working a minimum of 25 hours a week in a licensed early childhood setting.  CAD PATH offers a rigorous, structured upper division curriculum through in-person and on-line courses that meet during evenings and weekends to support working professionals.  California ECE competencies are embedded into coursework, and all students complete the self-reflection and assessment tools that accompany the competencies framework.  Students meet regularly with an academic counselor to ensure timely graduation.  

CAD PATH serves approximately 70 students per year, about half of whom began as freshmen at SF State and half transferred from community college.  PATH has a 4-year graduation rate of 90%, compared to 18% among all first-time, full-time freshmen and 37% of community college transfers at SF State.



  • Courses held on the evening and weekends to support individuals working in ECE settings.
  • Four courses offered per semester in a structured pathway to help you graduate in a timely manner.
  • Tutoring, case management and mentoring supports available.
  • Stipend options of up to $7,500 a year available for SF early childhood workforce members


  • Accepted into San Francisco State University.
  • Employed at least 25 hours per week in a licensed early childhood education center-based or family child care program (priority given to individuals employed in San Francisco).
  • Completed CAD 210, CAD 260 and CAD 215/CAD230 or their equivalents before the start of the CAD PATH program.  (Students are encouraged to have also completed all of their lower division general education coursework before entering the PATH program).


To hear what our students and community members have to say about the PATH program, please watch our 6 minute informational video.