May 12, 2017

At their third annual joint meeting, the governing boards of the East County college and high school districts will be reviewing the steps being taken to strengthen a partnership that is better preparing students for college and offering a way for them to pay for the first year of their higher education.

The joint Governing Board meeting of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and Grossmont Union High School District will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 in Room I-207 of the Cuyamaca College Student Center.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the work in the past year and make plans for the future of the East County Education Alliance, the   3 ½-year partnership between the two districts. The goals of the Alliance are to inspire students to focus on college and careers, develop a seamless pathway from high school to college, improve completion rates, and prepare students for the workforce.

Through the Alliance, the Higher Edge Promise Scholarship is offering a free year at Grossmont or Cuyamaca College to all Grossmont Union High School graduates who participate in college-preparation events. The scholarships will first be offered to graduating high school seniors in the class of 2019 who take the necessary steps to earn the Promise.

“I’m so proud of the progress our districts have made in collaborating with each other through the Alliance,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “Our work will transform the lives of thousands of students and provide the skilled workforce that East County needs to grow and thrive.”

The Alliance efforts got a boost this year when the college district was awarded a $1.5 million two-year California College Promise Innovation Grant from the state California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The money will be used to fund the Alliance’s outreach and college preparation program, which includes college campus visits, mentoring programs, Parent Nights and career workshops to introduce high schoolers to the demands of college and a career.

The funds will also be used for an online student support and data system to improve student retention and completion rates.

The Alliance is much broader than many other programs offering free college to high school students. In addition to the Higher Edge Promise Scholarship, participants in the Alliance are working to better align curriculum, developing programs to encourage high school students to attend college, and making efforts so that more students can take college classes while still in high school.

Students who are seeking a Higher Edge Promise Scholarship will be required to participate in engagement activities and college preparation events throughout their time in high school that will help ensure they are academically prepared for the rigors of a college education.

Part of the effort is introducing high school students to Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges to give them a taste of life on a college campus and inspire them to see that college is attainable for them.

In the next two weeks, selected students from El Capitan High School will be visiting Grossmont College, while Granite Hills High School students will be visiting Cuyamaca College. The students will learn about some of the academic and career education programs offered, and about the activities and support available to them at the colleges.

“We’re delighted that the East County Education Alliance is getting our students excited about the prospect of going to college,” said Tim Glover, superintendent of the Grossmont Union High School District. “We want our students to know that a world of opportunities are open to them when they graduate from high school.”