This month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” guest blog is presented by Agustina Sanchez, a counselor at Dinuba High School in Tulare County who has participated in the College Bridge Math Pipeline Readiness Project (M-PReP) since it was implemented in 2013. During the three-year project in concert with CVHEC-member Reedley College, Dinuba students not only acquired the necessary skills to become college-ready, but also passed college-level math classes through M-PReP, all in the span of their senior year. Mrs. Sanchez, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2001 and master’s and PPS Credential in 2003, has been counseling for 19 years. Here she shares her experience with College Bridge and how its life-changing strategies helped high school students through initiatives such as M-PReP and its new Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project announced last month.
Hard Pass? No more!
A rural Central Valley high school teams with College Bridge and
a CVHEC member for student math success through dual enrollment
BY AGUSTINA “AUGGIE” SANCHEZ
Dinuba High School – Dinuba CA (Tulare County)
Hard Pass! This was the typical response I received when registering high school juniors for a senior year math experience.
AP Calculus? AP Statistics? Pre-Calculus? No. No Way. Hard Pass!
As a high school counselor, I knew that our college-bound students were going to see math again (and, most likely, again and again). I did everything in my power to get college-bound students to take a math course, and while some took my advice, many did not because they “didn’t want a hard senior year,” or they would “just wait and take their next math in college.”
In fall 2018, I was introduced to a new partnership for Dinuba High School (DHS) with College Bridge. The goal of this partnership was to increase the number of students in a senior math experience, namely Dual Enrollment (DE) Math.
The concept was actually quite simple.
DHS partnered with a local community college to offer Dual Enrollment (DE) math courses to our seniors in areas of statistics, college algebra, college trigonometry and calculus. College Bridge literally created a bridge between DHS and Reedley College to ensure our students’ success in this area. Our senior students enrolled and successfully completed these DE math courses with a C or better, many of them finishing their general education math for their bachelor’s degree while still high school students.
To build a foundation for student success, College Bridge created a system of support in all areas — administrative, instruction, counseling and student learning:
- To train in course curriculums, from statistics to calculus, DHS teachers received professional development in cohort with Reedley College professors.
- Reedley College faculty not only came to mentor our teachers, but they were also released from the college to come and teach weekly at DHS while our teachers observed.
- Reedley College faculty members then observed our teachers in action and guided them throughout the semester until our instructors demonstrated comfort in, and a comprehensive understanding of, curricular content and methodology.
- To engage students, a counseling mentor was provided to help promote, market, entice and enroll students into courses.
- Parent nights were held, classroom presentations were conducted in Math 3 classes, and College Bridge helped interested students complete the necessary steps to apply to Reedley College.
- Our DHS math instructors taught the Reedley College content three days a week, offered tutorials the other two days, and additional after-school assistance was available three times per week.
- Students were monitored and interventions applied early to ensure positive student learning outcomes.
DHS now had a new approach and convincing talking points to encourage students to enroll in a senior math experience:
- Do you want to complete your math for your bachelor’s degree here at DHS?
- This is your chance to complete your first year of calculus at DHS with the support of our teachers.
- Why wait until you get to Reedley College or Fresno State; this is your chance to finish your math here at DHS with your teacher’s support and interventions.
Needless to say, senior math enrollment increased.
In our first year of implementation, DHS just focused on Math 11 (Statistics). College Bridge took things a step further, deeply investing efforts in the “striving math student.” A pre-Statistics course was offered in the fall and then the magical Math 11 (statistics) DE in the spring, thus preparing students for a full semester before enrolling them into the DE course.
Our more advanced students took the Math 11 DE in the fall term, and a Quantitative Reasoning course in the spring (non DE). DHS senior students achieved their goal and entered college “math done” for their degrees. Over the next three years, DHS added algebra, trigonometry and calculus to DE math course offerings.
Now, nine years after the first implementation of College Bridge, dual enrollment math is still strong.
We have two full-time teachers who teach DE courses for a total of 10 sections and are currently registering current 11th graders for next year. Our student math conversations are not difficult; many students have already made a DE math choice, and compelling arguments and evidence — including the pros and cons of dual enrollment math — typically convince those students who are hesitant to choose the path to college credit.
The senior math experience “hard pass” era is no longer viable. Instead, our current students will “hardly pass” up this amazing opportunity to excel.