Kern County represented well when it came to the inaugural Exemplary Dual Enrollment awards given to the state's top nine schools that provide students with opportunities to enroll in and earn college credits while in high school.
Arvin, Delano, Robert F. Kennedy and McFarland Early College high schools were among the nine to receive the honor as a 2022-23 Exemplary Dual Enrollment School, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recently announced. Delano Joint Union High School District and Compton Unified High School District each had two high schools recognized with DJUHSD having Delano and Kennedy.
The California Department of Education plans to make the award an annual recognition program.
“Our focus is to prepare our young people for both college and career," Arvin High principal Ed Watts said in a news release. "Our dual enrollment program has become a powerful vehicle allowing our students to launch into adulthood with a significant number of college credits. In the past several years, students have earned anywhere from three to 60 college credits, with 18 graduating with an (associate of arts) degree for transfer in communications through our early college model."
Watts credited Arvin's "robust partnership" with Bakersfield College.
"I am very grateful for the tireless efforts of the comprehensive teams at both Bakersfield College and Kern High School District in helping tackle the challenges of building such a robust and innovative program that allows our students to leave in a position to realize their dreams," Watts said.
The Kern High School District formally began dual enrollment in the fall of 2015 with Bakersfield College and Cerro Coso College. At that time, 415 students were enrolled in courses receiving both high school credit and college credit. Since then, the KHSD has also partnered with Cal State Bakersfield, and the number of dual enrollment students has risen to a projected number of 6,890 by the upcoming spring, with 329 dual enrollment courses offered.
There are 707 students participating in the dual enrollment program at McFarland High School Early College. Assistant Principal Nancian Munoz said to be recognized in the award program’s first year is a testament to the dedication of the school's staff.
"I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our teachers, counselors, and classified team members who have made the early college dream a reality here at MHSEC,” Munoz said in a release. "We are leading the state in equity and excellence, and I am humbled to be a part of it."