Monday, March 28, 2016

East County Education Alliance wins national Innovation of the Year award

A partnership between a college district and high school district in San Diego’s East County to provide a smoother path to college and a career has received a national Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The East County Education Alliance is a joint venture between the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and the Grossmont Union High School District designed to encourage collaboration between the two institutions so high school students are better informed about their college and career options. A major initiative was announced last year to provide a free year of classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges to qualifying high school graduates.

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. For the past 30 years, the league has been honoring community colleges with its Innovation of the Year Awards, recognizing inventive programs and practices that help institutions to better serve students and the community.

“The East County Education Alliance, with its collaborative teamwork aligning curricula in English, math, English as a Second Language, and career pathways, is helping high school students be better prepared as they climb the educational ladder,” said Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

The scholarship – the first of its kind in San Diego County – will be available starting with the class of 2019 to GUHSD graduates with a grade point average of at least 2.0. Other criteria include:

  •  Two-year residency in the GUHSD territory
  •  Completion of a Higher Edge Action Plan (going through the colleges’ orientation, assessment/placement, creating an education plan, and applying for financial aid.)
  •  Completion of a College Success course provided by the colleges’ counseling programs
  •  An introduction to college by one of three means: successful completion of a college/high school dual enrollment course; taking part in college engagement events; or completing in a Higher Edge boot camp
  •  Begin college within one year after high school graduation
  •  Enroll at least half time in college and remain academically eligible.
 The East County Education Alliance plans to start spreading the news about the scholarship by providing presentations at the 12 Grossmont Union High School District schools this spring. Parent workshops, including those in Spanish and Arabic, will also be conducted. A notification will also be sent to all current high school freshmen outlining the Higher Edge scholarship.

“We are immensely proud of our Higher Edge Scholarship, which addresses the critical need for a college education by providing a free year of college for Grossmont Union High School District graduates,” said Ralf Swenson, superintendent of the high school district.
Future plans call for the program to be extended to all East County high schools.

For more information about the Higher Edge scholarship and to get involved in the work of the East County Education Alliance, go to

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