Pioneer Scholars Program Now Accepting Applications for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

February 4, 2020

The Emily K Center is excited to announce that its Pioneer Scholars program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please note that the application deadline has been extended to Friday, March 20, 2020.** 

About Pioneer Scholars
Pioneer Scholars is an after school college readiness program for academically-focused elementary and middle school students who want to attend college after high school. The program is designed specifically for students who are performing at or above grade level benchmarks and whose family income falls within federal low income eligibility guidelines. Students attend programming at the Center immediately after school until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the school year. During the program, each student is assigned a Lead Tutor (a certified teacher) who develops an individualized curriculum that enhances students’ academic knowledge, reinforces their achievement in school, and develops their orientation toward college. The goal of the program is to establish a strong foundation of academic and leadership skills so that students enter high school ready to complete a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum. There is no cost to participate in this program.

Is my student a good candidate for the program?
The Emily K Center is committed to enrolling students who are the best fit for the academic rigor this program provides. We are seeking students who consistently:

If my student is selected to participate in Pioneer Scholars, what are the expectations for my student and my family?
All students are required to attend programming on the designated days for each grade level from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. for the duration of the academic year. First through sixth grades attend programming Monday through Friday. Seventh grade attends programming Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Eighth grade attends programming Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. All students are required to participate in an academic enrichment camp or program during the summer. Families also must arrange for transportation to and from the Center daily, attend conferences and meetings and requested, and encourage and support their student’s academic achievement.

What is the application process for the program?
The application window for the 2020-2021 academic year is February 3-28, 2020. Applications can be picked up at the Center or downloaded from the website. Applications will be reviewed during the month of March, and student interviews will be held in April. Families will be notified of student selections by the end of May. The application process is a competitive. Students who most closely meet the admissions profile are considered as the strongest candidates and will be contacted for an interview.

Qualifying families may access the application through the following links:

Check for eligibility using this guide: English | Español

Printable Elementary Application in English

Printable Middle School Application in English

Printable Elementary Application in Spanish

Printable Middle School Application in Spanish

Online Teacher Recommendation Form

Online Community/ Non-Teacher Recommendation Form (Rising 6th grade applicants only)

Please contact Nephitearya Bailey,associate director of elementary and middle school programming, at or 919-680-0308.

Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020**

We understand that students applying to Pioneer Scholars will not be able to access supporting documents for their applications due to school closures. The original deadline for applications was Friday, March 20th, however, due to school and community closures, late applications will not be penalized. 

Beginning on Thursday, March 26th, the Emily K Center will be closed to staff, students, and visitors. Due to the building closure, applications for Pioneer Scholars or Scholars to College may now be submitted via mail or e-mail only.  

Mail applications to:
Emily K Center
Att: Nephitearya Bailey
904 W. Chapel Hill St
Durham, NC 27701

E-mail applications to:
Kaitlyn Gray at