Every student deserves the opportunity to be prepared for where life takes them after graduating high school, whether it’s college or beginning their career.

McFarland Unified School District hasn’t just made College & Career Ready a slogan; it has made developing a sustainable program a district-wide objective. Through student-centered partnerships, like the Early College model created with Bakersfield College, students are given a competitive edge on 21st century skills to make them effective communicators, innovators and participants in the ever-changing global economy.

McFarland High School was recently recognized as the first Level 3 Early College in California. Every single one of the incoming 300-plus freshmen will complete a minimum 12 collegiate units, with an opportunity to earn up to an associate of arts degree during their time at McFarland High School, distinguishing the school and its students from other programs in the area.

Unfortunately, in rural communities all over the valley and across the state, the tendency is to focus on the barriers students face when pursuing higher education. The Bakersfield College-McFarland High School Early College model provides a scalable structure that challenges students to take collegiate level courses with the integrated supports available in high schools. At the end of their high school careers, McFarland High students will know the satisfaction of collegiate success and will have the confidence to pursue more.

We also know it’s not just about the destination, but the journey itself. And at MUSD, that first step begins with its new transitional kindergarten and kindergarten programs. The TK program enrolls students who missed the age requirement for kindergarten, but turn 5-years-old between Sept. 1 and June 30. McFarland has doubled the number of TK classes at its three elementary schools to meet the overwhelming need for early childhood education and its impact on students through elementary school, secondary school and beyond.

Adding to this offering, McFarland schools have partnered with the McFarland Park and Recreation District to offer a district subsidized, optional, after school program for TK and kindergarten kids. For less than the cost of babysitting ($150/month), parents can have their TK and kindergarteners remain until 5:30 p.m. daily, at their schools (Kern Avenue/Browning Road/Horizon), in the Park and Rec’s well-regarded Fun Skills program.

There is no income exclusions to participate in these programs and they’re open to students who live in McFarland and the surrounding areas.

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