How concurrent enrollment and college readiness are benefiting these students

Districts of Distinction update: Hayward USD is expanding the Bridge to College program to include more learners and their families
By: | March 11, 2020
More Hayward USD students are taking college classes in high school and middle school thanks to a college readiness and concurrent enrollment program there. By offering college credits in high school and middle school, Hayward USD is offsetting the course work of their students once they graduate high school and helping their families financially.

A concurrent enrollment initiative from a previous Districts of Distinction honoree that connects middle school students to introductory college-level work at a nearby community college now offers college credits in high school, an orientation program and a stronger college readiness system.

Hayward USD’s YEP Middle School program, now known as Bridge to College, has started inviting families and students to an orientation session every semester at nearby Chabot College, which awards college credits to program participants. Chabot faculty members provide tips for program success and in higher education overall, and ensure students are signed up to receive grades and understand course requirements.

“Even though classes are happening on our school campus, we wanted to convey to families that this is a college experience and provide opportunities for them to interact in that setting even if it’s just for that one night,” says Maya Hernandez, coordinator of before and after school programs for middle and high schools at the California district. “This also helps families understand the impact of the program, conveys that their children will be taking real college classes and establishes a communication loop with college instructors so students will have that extra support system in place.”

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Some orientations have featured a panel of former Hayward USD students and their families who discuss their Bridge to College experiences in addition tours of the Chabot campus. Hayward USD faculty and counselors also come to discuss the program from their perspective.

College readiness improvements

“Last semester was the first time we had a waitlist for one of our middle school classes,” says Hernandez. “More families are aware of our program and are definitely seeing the added benefit.” More students will be taking college classes in high school overall as well. One of the district’s high schools recently created an extra class when over 65 students enrolled in the original course—which could only accommodate 35.

Hernandez attributes this to increased recruitment efforts especially at one of the high schools where career center counselors have organized separate orientations with college staff to facilitate Q&As around course content.

“We are consistently boosting our recruitment efforts so more students have the opportunity to take these classes, which will offset their course work once they graduate from high school and help their families a great deal financially in the future,” says Hernandez.