Opinion: Students Thrive at Community College Extension in Milpitas

Nearly 60 Milpitas High School (MHS) students completed a college-level geometry course recently as part of a summer accelerator math program offered through the San José – Evergreen Community College Extension at Milpitas.

The students in the summer accelerator program were among almost 200 MHS students to successfully complete at least one college course this summer at the extension, which is a unique collaboration between San José – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) and Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD).

MHS students had extraordinary success, with 98 percent of students passing their courses, all of which were transfer-level college courses taught by San José City College (SJCC) faculty. These included classes in communications, English, psychology, mathematics, history, and computer science, which are transferable to the University of California and California State University systems.

By completing college-level courses that transfer to colleges and universities, MHS students who participate in programs offered at the extension will graduate from high school having already earned college credits. Because the classes are offered free to high school students, they are potentially saving thousands of dollars toward the cost of a college degree while also positioning themselves to complete their educational goals at a faster pace.

This 98 percent success rate—nearly unheard of in higher education—is possible due to the cohort of highly motivated students taking the classes, outstanding faculty teaching the classes, and the unique nature of the partnership between SJECCD and MUSD, which includes a focused early alert system that allows academic counselors to identify students who may be in need of intervention early on and ensure they receive the support and tutoring necessary to be successful in the class.

High school students can take classes at the Milpitas extension two ways: dual or concurrent enrollment. The former are SJCC courses offered specifically to MHS students during the high school day while the latter are regular SJCC courses open to anyone and in which high school students can also enroll for free. Another unique aspect of the partnership is that textbooks, which can sometimes cost more than the price of tuition for community college courses, are free to all students for all classes taken at the extension, with books for dual enrollment courses provided to high school students by MUSD.

Built upon the visionary leadership of the SJECCD Board of Trustees and MUSD Board of Education, and the leaders of both institutions, the extension has served hundreds of students since opening its doors in spring 2017, and we have only begun to scratch the surface.

This fall’s offerings feature nearly two dozen courses from a wide range of disciplines, including computer programming, Spanish, economics, American Sign Language, and much more. An Administration of Justice course being offered as dual credit to MHS students is being taught by Milpitas Police Chief Armando Corpuz.

The extension is also home to TechNest, SJCC’s Coding Academy. TechNest offers instruction in the Python programming language through a robust curriculum that is presented in partnership with the Office of Digital Learning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as a partnership with UC Berkeley for data science instruction.

The three-acre educational lab, which includes four general classrooms, two lecture halls, a science lab, collaborative work space, and a technology lab, as well as office space for enrollment and academic advising services, is located directly across the street from Milpitas High School on Escuela Parkway in Milpitas.

The community college extension at Milpitas is proving that this model of a symbiotic, co-located partnership is sustainable and beneficial not only to the students and institutions, but the entire community.

More information on available classes and services can be found online at:  www.sjcc.edu

 

Op-Ed by: 

Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland, Chancellor, San Jose – Evergreen Community College District

Cheryl Jordan, Superintendent, Milpitas Unified School District

Jorge Escobar, President, San Jose City College

Michael Mooney, Director, Milpitas College Extension

 

 

 

 

 

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