Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School, Community College District Boards Meet

Expanding and improving efforts to jointly prepare students for success in college, improved preparation of students for success in careers, and fostering and supporting interaction and collaboration between community college faculty and school teachers regarding common academic expectations and pathways to student success were the themes when the boards of the San Diego Unified School District and San Diego Community College District met recently for the first time in more than two decades.

The boards pledged to build upon their past and existing partnerships in moving forward, and they indicated a unanimous goal of moving forward in a systemic manner based upon overall service and quality assurance, not just ad hoc developments of an individualized nature.

The two districts share a past: before the Community College District was formed in 1972, the colleges were operated by the San Diego Unified School District. They trace their roots to a technical training school for adults that was founded at San Diego High School nearly a century ago.

Systemic approaches and design principles were used to outline the following action steps approved by the boards as future goals:
  • Hold a joint board meeting on an annual basis, beginning with fall 2012, in which updated plans and progress will be discussed.
  • Increase the number of middle college high schools by at least one additional school.
  • Increase concurrent enrollment by 10 percent over a five-year period.
  • Increase the number of high schools at which community college faculty provide instruction either on-site or via virtual technology, while taking a fresh look at relevant learning models using a holistic view that includes socialization.
  • Institute accelerated career programs linked to internships and service learning experiences.
  • Work toward coordinating a standardized spring break between the community college district and the school district, as well as San Diego State University.
  • Ensure that students, especially those who are disadvantaged, have comparable opportunities (accessibility to programs, inclusiveness, common standards) throughout both districts regardless of geography or socio-economic characteristics.
  • Ensure that there are meetings, workshops, and conferences between the districts’ faculty and teachers, counselors, and administrators, to ensure student success through early assessment, common academic standards and expectations, and appropriately-designed curricula.
During the October 18 meeting, the governing boards also heard comments from members of the public, including faculty, staff, and students from both organizations. Comments were provided by Kearny High School faculty member Erica Heinzman; principal of the Kearny High School of International Business, Ana Diaz-Booz; students Quetzali Garcia, Jessica Hernandez, Kimberley Oldenberg; Mesa College Professors Leticia Lopez and Alison Primoza who discussed the partnership between Kearny High School of International Business and Mesa College. Comments regarding the development of additional partnerships with high schools across the San Diego Unified were also heard.

AFT Guild President Jim Mahler encouraged the boards to consider standardizing the spring break schedules for students in the two districts; Mesa College Academic Senate President Madeleine Hinkes encouraged consideration of common standards for student readiness; and Miramar College Academic Senate President Daphne Figueroa spoke about Career Technical Education, and pathways to careers and postsecondary education.

Community College District Trustees Rich Grosch, Mary Graham, Bill Schwandt, Maria Nieto Senour, and Peter Zschiesche, and Chancellor Constance M. Carroll; and San Diego Unified Board of Education Members Richard Barrera, Scott Barnett, John Lee Evans, and Shelia Jackson, and Superintendent Bill Kowba began the public session.

The meeting was conducted in the form of a retreat and was facilitated by Dr. Ric Hovda, dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University.