The governing boards of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and two East County school districts held a joint meeting this week to reaffirm their commitment toward working together to provide students a clear path from high school to college and a career.
This was the second joint meeting of the boards for the college district, the Grossmont Union High School District and the Mountain Empire Unified School District. The first was held in 2019, and the 2020 meeting was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three districts have joined together in the East County Education Alliance, and board members from the three districts in their joint meeting, reaffirmed their promise to fulfill the Alliance’s mission to help students have a seamless transition from high school to college and to prepare students for the workforce.
Grossmont Union High School District operates 13 high schools in East County, while the Mountain Empire district runs Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley. Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges serve about 20,000 students.
“The collaborative work of the Alliance is vital to provide our students a clear pathway to their futures,” said Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “As educators, we recognize our obligation to prepare students for careers with sustainable wages and a promising future.”
Through the Alliance, faculty members, counselors, and administrators from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges meet with their colleagues to discuss how to remove obstacles from students on their path to college. One example of the collaboration is a pre-calculus class that is now offered in the summer to East County high school juniors after the need was recognized. All but one of 58 high school students passed the pre-calculus class taught at the colleges in summer 2020. This year, more than 75 students are already enrolled in the classes.
The Alliance is also spearheading efforts to offer college courses to high school students through dual enrollment, in which the classes are offered at the high school, and concurrent classes that are taught at the colleges. In the 2019-20 academic year, 118 Grossmont Union and Mountain Empire high school students took college classes at their school, and 281 students took classes at the colleges.
“I’m happy to see that many high school students are taking the opportunity to earn college credit even before they start their higher education,” said Brad Monroe, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board. “We are working with our Alliance partners to persuade even more students to get a head start on college.”
The Alliance members are also collaborating to encourage more students to enroll at the colleges. Numerous outreach efforts are being held at the high schools, and students are getting assistance with filling out the financial aid forms they need to get funding for college.
The Alliance also oversees the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise, a state-funded program that offers two years of free college at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges for first-time students attending full-time. The program has now grown to a duplicated headcount of 5,365 in the 2020-21 school year, up from 1,339 in 2018-19, the first year the Promise was offered.