CVHEC IN THE NEWS: College Bridge Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (December 2022): Year-In-Review/Silver Edition
Celebrating Our 25th Edition with a Look Back at 2022 E-Newsletter Stories
The December “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog is presented by Tom Uribes, CVHEC’s communications/media coordinator who joined CVHEC in 2020 after serving as a California State University public affairs specialist for two Fresno State offices in a 30-year career from 1988-2017: the University Outreach Services and University Communications offices, where he also served as the University’s public information officer for two decades of that career. Among his current projects is editor of the CVHEC e-newsletter which presents its 25th edition with this issue. His blog looks back at some of the newsletter stories published in 2022.
By Tom Uribes
CVHEC Communications/Media Coordinator
With the close of 2022 – and near resumption of post-pandemic “normal life” – we present our now annual review of top stories featured in the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium e-newsletter for this December issue: our 25th edition!
This Silver Edition of the CVHEC e-newsletter crowns a venture that started when I signed on with the Consortium in March, 2020 just as the pandemic broke — sending me back home after just one day in CVHEC’s office in Fresno to work out of a hastily revived bedroom office.
Under the direction of my new CVHEC boss at the time, Virginia Madrid-Salazar (who I had hired as one of my first news interns when she was a Fresno State student in the late 80s), we published our first issue in June 2020 and when Virginia left us in August 2021 to play lawyer, Ángel Ramírez assumed this CVHEC communications partnership as my lead. His able and competent guidance and leadership has continued the solid foundation started by Virginia for the growth of this e-newsletter into this, its 25th edition.
We hope you enjoy this milestone issue — a compressed journey through the past 12 months of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. Topics range from our Dual Enrollment Convening and Legislative and Policy Summit in in the spring, the historic CVHEC Board of Directors quarterly meetings, the appointments of new campus leaders, the growth of our “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog first introduced in 2021 and more.
We strive to tell the CVHEC story: bringing together 30 Central Valley institutions of higher education through its board of directors made up the presidents and chancellors in the nine-county region who make history every time they meet to deliberate, act and speak as one voice on higher education issues and policies affecting our region — a feat not seen too often throughout the academia CEO world.
We presented our first year-in-review looking back at 2021 in January with Dr. Benjamín Durán, CVHEC executive director, ushering in the New Year in his monthly director’s message:
“We at CVHEC wish you a dynamic start to the spring 2022 semester with hopes of reaching some sort of a new normal that will lead us to working, meeting our students and convening in-person in the near future,” Dr. Duran messaged that month. “While the pandemic has put the squeeze on all of us the past two years, we are more determined than ever to conquer that challenge as we have so many others.”
CV-HEC BLOG: Dual Enrollment – An Equity Change-Maker
Our first CV-HEC Guest Blog of the year in February featured a guest writer who was instrumental in planting seeds for our “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog, the aforementioned Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Esq., former CVHEC strategies lead turned private law practice dependency attorney. Virginia shared some observations on dual enrollment from her unique dual perspective stemming from when she worked with CVHEC setting up the CVDEEP and its convening and as a mom of a dual enrollment student.
“As the strategies lead for the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, it was an honor to work alongside area educators to affect transformational changes that have occurred in the region’s higher education sphere during that period,” said Virginia who wrote CVHEC’s white paper in 2020: CVDEEP White Paper: “Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley, Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity.”
Dual Enrollment Convening: Face-To-Face Space for K-12 and Higher Ed and new DE Video
More than 135 secondary and postsecondary educators assembled for the “Establishing Dual Enrollment Pathways in the Central Valley” Convening March 17 in Fresno to address challenges and barriers to dual enrollment success. Presented by CVHEC’s Central Valley Dual Enrollment for Equity and Prosperity (CVDEEP) Task Force, the five-hour convening was opened by Dr. Mayra A. Lara, associate director of Educator Engagement for The Education Trust-West, discussing her organization’s report, “Jumpstart California: A Roadmap for Equitable Dual Enrollment Policy & Practice.”
The event also featured the premiere of CVHEC’s latest education video, “Blurring the Lines Between High School and College: Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley.” The video depicts three student success stories as well as three area educators advocating for dual enrollment including CVHEC board members Dr. Kristin Clark, chancellor of the West Hills Community College District, and Dr. Chris Vitelli, president of Merced College. Convening participants also heard four valley students – including three from the video — share their success stories. Two completed associate degrees before their high school graduation. See press release.
CVHEC Founder Welty To Return for Summit and 20th Anniversary
This year for our 20th anniversary, the Consortium reunited with President-Emeritus John D. Welty, CVHEC’s founding president at our Higher Education Policy And Legislative Summit May 6, where the founding president witnessed a 30th member added to the board (see May).
SUMMIT NEWS: Attendees Hear the Voice of Student Experiences
A special feature of the 2022 CHEVC Summit was the student experiences panel including students who were featured in two Central Valley Higher Education Consortium videos in the past year.
CVHEC’s Higher Education Policy and Legislative Summit (Photo Gallery)
Nearly 300 intersegmental educators, legislators and partner representatives from throughout the Central Valley and the state joined us for our Higher Education Policy and Legislative Summit May 5-6 to examine such issues as equity, dual enrollment, transfer pathways and broadband disparity and access under the theme, “Post Pandemic World: Recovering with Equity and Inclusion in the Central Valley.” The event marked CVHEC’s 20th anniversary featuring the return of founding board of directors president Dr. John D. Welty, president-emeritus of Fresno State, who joined fellow founding board members Dr. Frank Gornick, West Hills Community College District chancellor-emeritus, and Dr. Benjamin Duran, Merced College president-emeritus and current CVHEC executive director, on a summit panel recalling the early days of the consortium. A special feature of the 2022 CHEVC Summit was the student experiences panel including students who were featured in two Central Valley Higher Education Consortium videos in the past year. The night before (May 5), CVHEC presented its Cinco de Mayo Reception providing the occasion to reconnect in-person with colleagues, new and old, after a two-year pandemic-forced hiatus from in-person convenings. The reception featured Las Hermanas Medinas from Hanford, two college grads and a current student (two of the three attended CVHEC member institution Fresno State and the third is a UC Santa Cruz alumna). See summit agenda.
BOARD NEWS: UCSF-Fresno Becomes CVHEC’s 30th Institution of Higher Education Member
At its quarterly meeting May 5, the CVHEC Board of Directors formally accepted the membership application from the University of California San Francisco – Fresno Campus and welcomed the 30th institution of higher education to join the Consortium. Michael W. Peterson, MD/MACP, associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and Research at the UCSF-Fresno Campus, was seated on the Consortium board joining the presidents and chancellors of 29 colleges and universities in the nine-county region from San Joaquin to Kern counties.
CVHEC Teacher Upskilling for Master’s Degrees Supports Dual Enrollment in South Valley Via Kern K-16 Collaborative
CVHEC’s Dual Enrollment Teacher Upskilling Program for English and Mathematics pilot program first launched in Fresno by CVHEC in 2021 was funded in June for the South Valley. In partnership with the Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, the program will provide 100 South Valley high school teachers with the opportunity to earn a master’s degree that achieves state qualifications for teaching community college dual enrollment English and math courses on local high school campuses.
Dr. Krista Herrera was named executive director of the newly formed Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, a partnership between Kern County Superintendent Of Schools, institutes of higher education including the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and Kern business partners to significantly expand Kern County’s workforce development efforts (reported in our July issue).
CVHEC BLOG: UC Enrollment Push Supported by CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project and new Mapper Software
The June “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” Blog featured guest contributor Dr. James Zimmerman, senior associate vice provost and dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of California-Merced where he is also director of the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning and a physics professor. He serves on the CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project committee and for this blog he connects the committee’s work the past year to a recent article on UC enrollment expansion.
Pathway for Community College Students to the Medical Field: California Medicine Scholars Program-SJV: a collab of UCSF Fresno and CVHEC members
A valley wide collaborative by CVHEC partners and Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) led to a major accomplishment for the Central Valley with the launch this summer of the California Medicine Scholars Program and the designation of the University of California, San Francisco – Fresno as one of four Regional Hubs of Healthcare Opportunity (RHHOs) in the state. Sen. Hurtado cited a healthcare provider shortage in the Central Valley and credited CVHEC for rallying leaders of the Consortium from Stockton to Bakersfield to support UCSF-Fresno as one of the state’s four hubs authorized by the legislation.
Zero-Textbook-Cost/OER Movement picks up steam with $115m state grant West Hills College Lemoore among leaders; CVHEC plans regional task force
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) is creating a regional task force to support its member institutions interested in reducing the overall cost of education for students and decreasing the time to complete degree and certificate programs by using alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including open educational resources (OER).
CV-HEC BLOG: The ZTC/OER Movement
The September blog is the first by a CVHEC Board of Directors member: West Hills College-Lemoore President James Preston who writes about the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Program and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office supporting the system with $115 million to do the work in the “OERevolution” (Open Educational Resources).
CVHEC NEWS: Elaine Cash Is Grants & Program Coordinator as Consortium Grows
Educator Elaine C. Cash, retired superintendent of Riverdale Joint Unified School District and a K-12 liaison for the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium since 2017, was named to a full-time position as CVHEC’s Grants & Programs coordinator. In her new capacity effective Oct. 1, Elaine is responsible for grant writing, management and reporting of grants and sponsored programs, announced CVHEC Executive Director Dr. Benjamín Durán. “This new position for CVHEC will help support the growth and sustainability of the consortium and our work,” Durán said.
MINI GRANT SUCCESS STORY: AOA Journal Features CHSU ‘Pre-Med Bootcamp’ for Promoting Cultural Competency, Osteopathic Medicine Awareness
The Pre-Med Bootcamp Program of the California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine was recognized nationally for its success in promoting cultural competency and osteopathic medicine awareness and assisting students in applying for the medical school. The bootcamp, held in 2019 and the first of five held since then, was supported by a Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grant.
North Valley, East Sierra CVHEC Members Partner for K-16 Collaboratives State Planning Grants Could Lead to Expansion of CVHEC’s Dual Enrollment Initiatives
Two more Central Valley regions – North San Joaquin and Eastern Sierra – were each awarded one-year $250,000 state planning grants for the establishment of Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Programs as part of the statewide drive to strengthen the K-16 education-to-career pipeline. Both collaborative efforts are headed by Central Valley Higher Education Consortium member institutions.
In the Northern San Joaquin Region, the University of California, Merced is the lead agency for the newly formed North Valley Tri-County Workforce and Education (WE Will!) Regional Collaborative that includes four other fellow CVHEC-members: Merced College, Modesto Junior College, San Joaquin Delta College and California State University, Stanislaus. For the Eastern Sierra Region, CVHEC-member Columbia College is heading up the K-16 collaborative planning along with several school districts, colleges and employer groups. These allocations amount to a total of four such collaboratives involving CVHEC members that will help bolster dual enrollment initiatives like the consortium’s successful Master’s Upskilling Program that has already been implemented in the mid valley region through the Fresno-Madera K-16 Collaborative and will be getting underway in 2023 in the south valley area through the Kern K-16 Collaborative.
- DECEMBER (Silver Edition)
CVHEC Board Winter Meets (Photo Gallery)
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Board of Directors held its final quarterly meeting of the year Dec. 8 highlighted by a discussion of Assembly Bill 928 regarding transfer reform and a farewell to a beloved colleague: Dr. Lori Bennett, outgoing president of Clovis Community College who delivered her final State-of-the-College at the CCC President’s Breakfast Oct. 25. See the board photo gallery.
CV-HEC BLOG: Year in Review-2022
The December “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog takes a look back at some of the newsletter stories published in 2022.
MEMBER NEWS: North Valley, East Sierra CVHEC members partner for K-16 Collaboratives
State Planning Grants Could Lead to Expansion of CVHEC’s Dual Enrollment Initiatives
Two more Central Valley regions – North San Joaquin and Eastern Sierra – have each been awarded $250,000 state planning grants for the establishment of Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Programs as part of the statewide drive to strengthen the K-16 education-to-career pipeline. Both collaborative efforts are headed by Central Valley Higher Education Consortium member institutions.
The Department of General Services announced Nov. 9 that the state is awarding the planning grants to the two Central Valley regions as well as the Bay Area and the Central Coast for a total of $1 million. The one-year planning grants will help establish the collaboratives in those areas which will eventually seek additional funding to provide more streamlined, equitable pathways that can help local students transition from high school to college or career training and into the workforce.
In the Northern San Joaquin Region, the University of California, Merced is the lead agency for the newly formed North Valley tri-county Workforce and Education (WE Will!) Regional Collaborative that includes four other fellow CVHEC-members: Merced College, Modesto Junior College, San Joaquin Delta College and California State University, Stanislaus.
They are working in collaboration with partners from Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties through the WE Will! Collaborative.
For the Eastern Sierra Region, CVHEC-member Columbia College is heading up the K-16 collaborative planning along with several school districts, colleges and employer groups.
These partners will use the planning year to establish their collaborative and to apply together for up to $18 million in state funds available to the region for a three-year “cradle-to-career” pathway project.
These allocations amount to a total of four such collaboratives involving CVHEC members that will help bolster dual enrollment initiatives like the consortium’s successful Master’s Upskilling Program that has already been implemented in the mid valley region through the Fresno-Madera K-16 Collaborative and in the south valley area through the Kern K-16 Collaborative.
The program recruits and helps fund tuition for high school math and English teachers to earn a Master’s so they can teach dual enrollment courses in those subjects on the high school campus.
Dr. Benjamín Durán, CHVEC executive director, said the south and mid valley efforts have laid a solid foundation for the program to succeed when scaled and replicated in the North Valley and Eastern Sierra regions to better serve all Central Valley students.
“As we continue to equitably expand dual enrollment efforts in the Valley, we know one of the barriers for high school teachers to teach these classes is the lack of a master’s degree,” said Duran, president-emeritus of Merced College who was named to lead CVHEC in 2016. “With the new formation of both the WE Will! Regional Collaborative and the Eastern Sierra collaborative with this latest state funding, we will be able to expand our efforts throughout the Valley to increase dual enrollment opportunities for our students.”
In its announcement Nov. 7, UC Merced said the WE Will! Regional Collaborative – which was formed “to address streamlining and accelerating students preparing to enter the priority industry fields that would better serve our region, students and families” — will use the year to assess, design and create a work plan for the phase two application in the fall of 2023, which will be over $18 million.
“UC Merced is committed to helping break workforce barriers,” said Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz who serves on the CVHEC Board of Directors that is made up of the presidents and chancellors of its 30 consortium members from San Joaquin to Kern counties.
“The WE Will! Collaborative between our campus and surrounding counties will be an essential pipeline to build a more equitable future for all students and provide the resources they need to reach their career goals,” the UCM chancellor said.
Dr. Ellen Junn, Stanislaus State president and CVHEC board member, said, “As the California State University serving this region, Stan State is committed to preparing our graduates to address and meet the needs of our regional workforce. We are dedicated to working collaboratively to aggressively pursue equity and diversity in degree and credential attainment as we work to ensure the best possible preparation for student success in the workforce.”
WE Will! provides collaboration between all education partners and the workforce to design ways for students to experience connected learning experiences, acceleration opportunities and successful transition into locally available careers.
“We know employers don’t stop at the county border when they are expanding,” said San Joaquin Delta President Lisa Aguilera Lawrenson, also a CVHEC board member. “We are looking forward to collaborating with our workforce partners and educational partners to get beyond the ‘border’ and plan for the region. Together we can provide a workforce for the needs of today and the future.”
The Eastern Sierra project will also include UC Merced and Stanislaus State as well as K-12, postsecondary, and industry partners, including the superintendents of schools in each participating county, several K-12 districts; and workforce investment boards, including Mother Lode Job Training. Those counties are Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Mariposa, Alpine, Inyo and Mono.
“This is the first step toward a very exciting opportunity for our rural counties,” said Dr. Lena Tran, Columbia College president who is also on the CVHEC Board.
“We are very honored to serve as the lead for a project that will be designed specifically by and for our rural mountain communities. This planning year gives us a chance to build our collaborative and find what works for our students, our schools, and our employers.”
Earlier this year, the state awarded full implementation grants to the Central San Joaquin Valley and Kern County, as well as the North State, Redwood Coast, Orange County, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Border and Inland Empire regions totaling approximately $163 million.
The state grant was awarded through the 2021 Budget Act, which allocated $250 million to the Department of General Services and is being administered through the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
See the UC Merced press release (includes a full list of WE WILL partners).
For CVHEC media inquiries contact Tom Uribes: firstname.lastname@example.org (559.348.3278)
For UC Merced media inquiries, contact PIO Desiree Lopez: email@example.com (209.746.5137)
CCA Dual Enrollment National Focus Group Features Central Valley Students
A nation-wide communications campaign conducted by Complete College America (CCA) to recruit more Latinx students and other students of color into dual/concurrent enrollment student programs across the United States includes four Central Valley students who participated in CCA’s Dual Enrollment Student Focus Group Sept. 19 via Zoom.
The projected release of the virtual presentation is early 2023, said Dr. Brandon Protas, a strategic director for CCA.
Complete College America is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is focused on significantly increasing college completion rates with a focus on racial equity through an alliance of higher education leaders and organizations – such as partner CVHEC.
Dr. Benjamín T. Durán, CVHEC executive director, serves as one of 48 CCA leads nation-wide who provide oversight and coordination for local initiatives as well as CCA-sponsored projects. Leads act as strategic thought partners and leaders and promote the efforts and importance of CCA, Dr. Protas said.
The alliance sought the student recommendations after seeing CVHEC’s dual enrollment awareness campaign the past year that culminated in a five-minute video, newsletter stories and student panels at two convenings earlier this year. In addition to those students from the consortium’s nine-county Central Valley region, for this national project CVHEC also recruited valley students who attend a college outside the region.
Dr. Protas said the national project sought racially homogenous focus groups of students over 18 who participated in dual/concurrent enrollment in the past four years.
“The aim is to understand what impact DE/CE classes had on students of color, as well as on their motivation to go to college and to earn a certificate or degree and their experiences as a student of color,” Dr. Protas said.
“Information gathered from this national focus group will help create plug-and-play communications assets that can be used for intentional recruitment of dual/concurrent enrollment students who are underrepresented in these programs,” he said. “These would be branded through Complete College America and made available throughout the CCA Alliance to help recruit future high school students into DE/CE programs across the United States.”
The conversations were facilitated by Dr. Stepheny Hinkle Beauchamp, who CCA retained to conduct them through a race-conscious lens, Protas said. Her doctoral research is in dual enrollment rates for Latinos in Colorado.
The CVHEC students participating in the nation focus group are:
- MARISSA GUTIÉRREZ, a graduate of Firebaugh High School who took dual enrollment through West Hills College-Firebaugh Center, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Fresno State. She is now enrolled at University of Northern Colorado earning a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling while working full time for a local elementary school in Greeley, CO.
- VERÓNICA MÉNDEZ GARCÍA graduated from Madera High School where she enrolled in dual enrollment courses through Madera Community College before earning a Bachelor of Arts at Fresno Pacific University in spring 2022. She also served as student body president (2021-22) and was featured in a CVHEC video regarding broadband disparity. She is now pursuing a master’s at California Baptist University online.
- AMIRA MALDONADO earned an Associate of Arts degree (plant science) through Reedley College’s Wonderful Prep program while at Sanger High School and is now in her second undergrad year at University of California, Davis (human development- sports medicine).
- JOSÉ ACOSTA, a Sanger High School alumnus, took dual enrollment courses through Reedley College’s Wonderful Prep program and is in his second undergrad year at UC Davis (Animal Science).
The students have been enthusiastic in sharing their respective success stories, said Tom Uribes, CVHEC communications/media coordinator who coordinated the local student effort with Saundra McGlothlin, CVHEC regional coordinator and dual enrollment lead.
“We identified students who took just a few dual enrollment classes and found themselves motivated to pursue a higher education and we had some who went all out taking enough courses to earn an associate degree a week or two before they formally graduated from high school,” Uribes said. “All have been very articulate in sharing their respective stories either in our video, newsletter stories or serving on the panels.”
CVHEC Dual Enrollment Convening set for March 17 in Fresno
The “Establishing Dual Enrollment Pathways in the Central Valley” convening Thursday, March 17, will bring more than 150 secondary and postsecondary educators together in person for the first time since the pandemic shutdown to address challenges and barriers to dual enrollment success.
Presented by the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, the convening will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel in downtown Fresno.
Registration to participate is now open at: https://bit.ly/DEpathwaysCV (the hotel link is https://bit.ly/DoubleTreeFresno).
This second convening will continue the work started on March 5, 2020 – two weeks before the pandemic shutdown – which resulted in several initiatives that have enhanced the delivery of dual enrollment in the region:
- Improvements in the CCCApply application process to the California Community College system.
- The Dual Enrollment Upskilling Teachers Master’s Program that provides access to state funding through the Fresno K-16 Collaborative providing funds for high school English and math teachers to earn their master’s degrees.
“This unique event — intersegmental collaboration at a regional level — will be highly interactive and will engage audience members with panel presenters from valley colleges and high schools including practitioners and student success stories,” said Dr. Benjamín T. Durán, CVHEC executive director.
This renewed localized promotion of dual enrollment began in Spring 2019 when Central Valley community college leaders approached CVHEC to provide convening assistance surrounding dual enrollment, a strategy that allows secondary school students to earn college credits before their high school graduation.
As a result of the discussions in these early gatherings, the Central Valley Dual Enrollment for Equity and Prosperity (CVDEEP) Task Force was formed with about 60 community college and K-12 educational leaders who deliver dual enrollment services valley-wide.
“These educators endeavor purposefully and strategically in addressing the complexity of dual enrollment to spotlight both challenges and best practices for colleges and high schools in the nine-county CVHEC region,” Durán said.
In June 2020, CVHEC released a 16-page report, “Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley, Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity;” by former CVHEC Strategies Lead Virginia Madrid Salazar, Esq., that highlights this work and provides a blueprint to strengthen dual enrollment delivery in the Central Valley. (Also, see her blog in this issue: https://bit.ly/CVHECblog-DualEnrollment021822).
Check for updates and event follow-up at the CVDEEP Convening Website
SEE: CVHEC report, “Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley, Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity” and press release).
- The 2020 CVDEEP Convening
- Updated CVDEEP press release (March 14, 2022)
In 2016, a new dual enrollment option was introduced through Assembly Bill (AB) 288, amending Education Code (EC) 76004, and creating the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP). This legislation enabled more high school students to take college courses taught by college professors on their high school campuses. California AB 30, signed by Governor Newsom in October 2019, expands and protects dual enrollment through 2027.
CVHEC media contact: Tom Uribes • firstname.lastname@example.org • 559.348.3278
CV-HEC Guest Blog: ‘What the CV-HEC is Happening’ Feb. 2022
Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Esq., was CVHEC’s strategies lead from 2015 through July 2021. In August, the San Joaquin College of Law alumna’s service to her community shifted to private law practice as a dependency attorney serving parents and minors involved in Dependency Court of the Fresno County Superior Court. She is also a board member of the Fresno County Office of Education Foundation. Not only did she utilize her skills while at CVHEC to help develop dual enrollment strategies with CVHEC member institutions and educational partners, Virginia also supported her own son’s productive dual enrollment journey – so we asked her to share some observations on dual enrollment from this unique perspective for our fourth “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog.
Dual Enrollment: An Equity Change Maker
By Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Esq.
As the strategies lead for the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, it was an honor to work alongside area educators to affect transformational changes that have occurred in the region’s higher education sphere during that period.
This blog entry gives me a welcome opportunity to share my perspective, first, reflecting on the dual enrollment work that CVHEC champions; experiencing dual enrollment in my own son’s educational career; and lastly, expressing my hope for where the Central Valley will go with dual enrollment. As a dependency attorney, I welcome the push of dual enrollment for foster youth.
Energizing for Dual Enrollment Despite Pandemic Limitations
Right before the pandemic hit, on March 5, 2020 CVHEC hosted a groundbreaking event for Central Valley higher education and K-12 educators. Nearly 200 interested educators gathered to create an action plan to create a dual enrollment model that improved the delivery of dual enrollment for the Central Valley’s rural and urban communities.
It was an energizing event. A CVHEC-convened taskforce primed the agenda to allow colleagues an opportunity to identify shared barriers to dual enrollment and devise action plans to dismantle those barriers. This collaboration proactively allowed for a valley-wide approach.
Among the needs that emerged included improving CCCApply for dual enrollment students (the application was not originally designed for use by high school students taking college-credit bearing courses and it showed); and the simple fact that not enough teachers met minimum qualifications Ito teach college courses on their high school campuses.
During the pandemic, CVHEC brought those interested parties together virtually via Zoom where these challenges were further examined and solutions were crafted.
Application Frustrations Raised and Fixed
An executive committee of the task force identified frustrations experienced by Central Valley students when enrolling in dual enrollment courses. These concerns were shared with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office team working to improve the application process.
As a result, improvements have been implemented and there are more students now overcoming that barrier.
Growing Dual Enrollment Teachers on High School Campuses
CVHEC got to work on another barrier and organized grant applications to the Fresno K-16 Collaborative to fund high school English and math teachers to earn their master’s degrees (see Dual Enrollment Upskilling Teachers Master’s Program). In December 2021, the first of three cohorts completed their degrees. Not only will these teachers teach dual enrollment courses on high school campuses, but some will serve at rural high school campuses where the need is great.
These efforts are the beginnings of improving dual enrollment for Central Valley students.
Improving dual enrollment access does not necessarily mean a student must earn their associate degree by the time they finish high school either. Rather, the opportunity to take at least six units of college-credit bearing courses – especially an English or math course – before they finish their high school career can transcend a student’s outlook on their college career.
That was my son’s experience.
Students Getting a Head Start in College Career
In his senior year of high school, my son enrolled in six units of college credit-bearing course work taking Communications and English 1A. It was the first he heard of these dual enrollment classes offered on his campus and he decided he would give it a shot. Not only did he find the course work and his instructors interesting (he earned A’s in both courses) but, perhaps more importantly, he saw himself as a college student – in that moment.
“That dual enrollment is clutch!” That was his exclamation in our kitchen with his ed plan in hand. It was clear to him he was free to take a few other courses he needed to transfer to his choice school. This was all because he got a head start on his college career with dual enrollment. All I could do was smile.
Unbridled excitement for his future. It’s an indescribable feeling to see the positive impact of transformational change. That must be what our Central Valley higher education leaders pursue as they explore how to grow dual enrollment in the valley.
Opportunities to Grow Dual Enrollment – Equitable Growth
That excitement I saw in my son – a mix of relief, inspiration and a vision he saw for himself – is for everyone. Growing dual enrollment offers an equitable growth opportunity. As of late, I’ve noticed a push for foster youth in dual enrollment. (See Career Ladders Project Dual Enrollment for Foster Youth: Toward Effective Practice.) Now as a Dependency Attorney, and not someone in the daily challenge of growing dual enrollment, I see the experiences foster youth endure and the resiliency they display and I applaud this push on their behalf.
This is where I have a unique perspective. I can see the transformation that can occur for foster youth if they participate in dual enrollment – even if it’s a few college courses. Not just because of the impact higher education can have on someone’s life, but because for a senior who is living life as a foster youth, a lot rides on that last year of high school. Let me explain.
When foster youth are not reunified with their family as they near the age of majority, they may continue to receive County support through age 21 if they work or attend college through what is known as AB 12 Extended Foster Care Program and Benefits. If foster youth can envision themselves as college material while in high school that young person will be inclined to participate in AB 12 and pursue a college education. This is a decision they make during that last year of majority or their senior year of high school. I cannot emphasize enough how a dual enrollment opportunity can transform that young person’s life.
Simply put, in all its fashions, dual enrollment cannot be denied in its ability to create long-lasting, unimaginable change.
Yes, it was such an honor to lend my skill through CVHEC to help Central Valley educators create transformational change.
I cannot wait to see what transformations take shape in the next few years and what other barriers to dual enrollment Central Valley educators will dismantle.
Check the CVDEEP Convening Website for updates and follow-up of the March 17, 2022 event.
See CVHEC White Paper Released: ‘Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley: Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity’