Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley

Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity


In Spring 2019, Central Valley community college leaders approached CVHEC to provide convening assistance surrounding dual enrollment. In exploring how it might provide value to the dual enrollment effort CVHEC convened a gathering in July 2019 where over 60 education leaders from the CVHEC region joined this exploration.

As a result of the discussions in these early gatherings, which emerged organically from regional colleges and universities, a dual enrollment task force was formed. Participating leaders appropriately named their effort the Central Valley Dual Enrollment for Equity and Prosperity (CVDEEP). By March 2020, more than 150 secondary and postsecondary education leaders had gathered for CVDEEP convenings, working to identify and establish the best elements of an intentional and sustainable strategy for dual enrollment.

Why Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment can pave a smoother path to college for students in the Central Valley. It allows high school students to take college courses for credit, and the early exposure sets students on a trajectory to both attend and be successful in college. The expansion of dual enrollment is critical because currently, not all students have equal access to dual enrollment opportunities and their benefits.

CVHEC’s goal is to provide encouragement and opportunities for secondary and post-secondary educators to work collaboratively and creatively, as a matter of equity, to “blur” the lines between community colleges and their K-12 partners to provide opportunities and meaningful pathways, avoiding “random acts of dual enrollment,” for all students who are able and willing to complete college courses while still enrolled in high school.

CVHEC is committed to equity-driven strategies to reduce disparities in student persistence and completion rates and believes dual enrollment will significantly increase high school students’ chances of earning credentials, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees as expeditiously as possible, providing a timely gateway to meaningful careers with sufficient earnings to support a quality of life for themselves and their families.

Blurring the Lines Between High School and College: Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley

The Work

Removing barriers to access is a driver for CVHEC’s dual enrollment work. The CVDEEP task force has identified a number of challenges and has already begun identifying solutions for improvement.

  • The community college application (CCCApply) was not user-friendly for high school students enrolling in dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment courses. A CVDEEP subcommittee has identified recommended modifications and, partnered with other California regions, is working with the Community College Chancellor’s Office to improve this particular access point for not only Central Valley students, but all California dual enrollment students.
  • The lack of high school teachers who meet the minimum qualifications to teach dual enrollment was also a barrier identified by the task force. CVHEC’s MA Upskilling Project is addressing this barrier. First piloted in Fresno County and currently being done in Kern County, the MA Upskilling Project is providing high schools with the capability to partner with their local community colleges so their students can participate in dual enrollment classes. The new pools of qualified English and math dual enrollment teachers can also result in alleviating capacity at the community college while enabling high school English and Math teachers with increased educational advancement in their disciplines.
  • A 16-page CVDEEP report, compiled in 2020 by CVHEC Strategies Lead Virginia Madrid Salazar, J.D., highlighted this work and provides a blueprint to strengthen dual enrollment delivery in the Central Valley.
  • Meaningful pathways and getting away from the “random acts of dual enrollment” was another area the task force identified. CVHEC has partnered with College Bridge to create the CV DE Math Bridge Project. This project will create a model for meaningful dual enrollment math pathways and expansion.

All of CVHEC’s work can be replicated in other regions of California serving underprepared students.

Dual Enrollment Coalition of California (DECC)

CVHEC is also proud to be a part of the Dual Enrollment Coalition of California (DECC). By working together, DECC advances a shared vision of high-quality dual enrollment for equity, in which educators believe in the capacity of all students to succeed. We uplift high-impact practices and promote high-quality, equitable, dual enrollment policy and practice throughout California.

The DECC steering committee is composed of the following organizations: California Association of Black School Educators, California Coalition of Early and Middle Colleges, Career Ladders Project, Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, and Education Trust-West.

To find out more about dual enrollment professional learning opportunities please sign up for the DECC mailing list here.