Giving students a jump start on college
Nine schools recognized for exemplary dual enrollment
March 20, 2023
Nine California high schools have been recognized in a newly created awards program for exemplary dual enrollment schools.
In February, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced creation of the Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award, which publicly recognizes schools that provide students with opportunities to enroll in and earn college credits while in high school. This is the first year that schools are being recognized for this award, and the California Department of Education plans to make it an annual recognition program.
We asked Principal Silvia Maldonado from one of the recognized schools to share how dual enrollment works at Avenal High School.
When did your school start its dual enrollment program? Avenal High School has offered dual enrollment courses since the 2014-15 academic year. Dual enrollment courses are offered on the Avenal High School campus taught by West Hills Community College Coalinga Faculty. The instruction modality is face-to-face during the students’ scheduled bell period.
What classes are offered? Currently, [we offer] 18 sections of dual enrollment courses on the Avenal High School campus. Some of the dual enrollment courses that are offered on the Avenal High campus include: Student Development, English 1A, Statistics, Communications, Political Science, Biology, Chemistry, Business, Economics, Health, Crop Science, U.S. History, World History, Soil Science and Art. These dual enrollment courses also allow students to have their A-G requirements met.
What are some of the benefits of your program? The dual enrollment program is a viable option for students giving them a taste of college coursework while they are enrolled in high school. Students that participate in dual enrollment have the ability to earn college credits that will apply toward a two- or four-year degree. All students are able to participate in dual enrollment on campus. We do not impose any selection criteria for students, just their willingness to work hard and meet the rigors of college instruction. The beauty of our program is that students are able to enroll in college classes during any academic period. Students who take advantage of this great opportunity are able to accrue up to 65 college credits during their high school years.
How many students are participating?
Avenal High School has a student enrollment of 762 students, of the 762 students, 47 percent of our student body participates in dual enrollment. Since the inception of dual enrollment, more than 176 students have earned an associate degree, totaling 10,560 college credits.
What advice would you have for principals looking to create their own program? This is an amazing opportunity for students and is definitely one that is encouraged. The process would require site visits to schools already implementing dual enrollment to see the implementation practices.
Special consideration should be placed on establishing a pathway to the College and Career Access Partnerships Agreement that is board-approved both through the community college and school district. Other emphasis should be placed on a data sharing MOU agreement, the articulation of college credits earned, funding requirements, and student population and attendant supports. The success and sustainability of dual enrollment programs rests on the strength of the local district-college partnership focusing on:
  • Well-defined and understood pathways, purpose and goals.
  • An active and engaged college/high school liaison.
  • Flexibility among partners, in regards to policies and procedures.
  • Parent engagement opportunities.
  • Designated student supports (behavioral and academic).
  • Open communication with community college administration, faculty and high school.
2022–23 California Exemplary Dual Enrollment Schools
The California Department of Education’s newly created Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award program encourages all California schools to strengthen and expand their dual enrollment offerings, particularly focusing on the inclusion of students of color, socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students who are the first in the family to attend college. California Exemplary Dual Enrollment schools build collaborative relationships among high schools, colleges, families, community members and industry partners. These programs had to mirror the student population, include underserved populations, and make progress toward more equitable participation and outcomes. The programs also integrated with college and district plans and/or frameworks and converted college credits to high school credits. All comprehensive high schools with dual enrollment programs were eligible to apply for the 2022–23 Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award. Early College High Schools, Middle College High Schools, and alternative education schools will be eligible to apply for the 2023–24 year. Schools recognized as a California Exemplary Dual Enrollment Awardee will hold the title for two years. Arvin High School, Kern High School District, Kern County Avenal High School, Reef-Sunset Unified School District, Kings County Centennial High School, Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles County Delano High School, Delano Joint Unified High School District, Kern County Dominguez High School, Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles County McFarland High School Early College, McFarland Unified School District, Kern County Mendocino High School, Mendocino Unified School District, Mendocino County Rio Linda High School, Twin Rivers Unified School District, Sacramento County Robert F. Kennedy High School, Delano Joint Union High School District, Kern County
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