Kern High School District’s commitment to providing all of its students a multitude of opportunities is only possible with strong support from the KHSD Board of Trustees and the community. Two such great opportunities for KHSD students are to learn job-ready skills through Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and to earn college credits while in high school through dual enrollment.
KHSD is taking an active role in preparing students to fulfill Kern County’s need for skilled employees. Preparation for the workforce provides students the opportunity to learn industry- specific skills, gain exposure to robust and emerging industries and work directly with community and industry partners. In addition to learning the essential skills related to a particular industry sector, every career preparation course promotes 21st century skills (i.e. soft- skills, effective communication, work ethic, critical thinking, etc.) that are necessary in every walk of life. We are preparing students for employment after high school as vigorously as we are preparing students for college.
KHSD’s vast CTE offerings can be found at all 18 comprehensive high school sites, five alternative education sites, two special education career centers, the Bakersfield Adult School and the Regional Occupational Center (ROC). KHSD has a number of CTE programs that allow students to gain employable skills in a variety of career fields, aligned to the local workforce needs. The KHSD is continuing to dramatically expand CTE by increasing the number of CTE classes offered at school sites, adding new buildings and square footage to expand the ROC to over 100,000 square feet, as well as building a new facility that is dedicated solely to CTE programs; the Career Technical Education Center, adjacent to Independence High School. This new 106,000-plus square foot facility, slated to open in January 2020, will be a state-of-the-art training location offering 17 different CTE programs. Each space within the facility will mirror what is found in industry, allowing students to obtain and develop the necessary skills to operate equipment critical to their success in that career field.
As the KHSD has made CTE a priority for all of its sites, we have also been diligent in acquiring state and federal dollars to assist in supporting CTE expansion. In the past four years, the KHSD has been awarded nearly $28 million dollars to support CTE programs. In addition to other grant funds, this money has been well-spent on teaching students skills, providing new or renovated facilities and accessing equipment that provide experiences which will benefit them with their college and career endeavors.
Dual enrollment is truly a game changer for Kern High School District students. Dual enrollment occurs when a high school student is taking a high school course that has been aligned to a college course and is receiving high school and college credit simultaneously. Students begin a college transcript in high school when they begin acquiring dual enrollment credits. Providing access to college enrollment is a life-changing benefit for a student who may have thought college was not possible.
The KHSD has partnerships with Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso College and Cal State Bakersfield to offer dual enrollment classes so students can start their collegiate journeys while still attending high school.
In KHSD’s first year of implementing dual enrollment during the 2015-2016 school year, 733 students received college credit. With the rapid growth of increasing the number of classes and opportunities for students, there were nearly 3,800 KHSD students receiving college credit via dual enrollment in the 2017-18 school year. In just three short years since dual enrollment began, roughly 8,000 KHSD students have received college credit while taking their high school classes. It is projected that in the 2018-19 school year, 5,000 KHSD students may earn college credit through dual enrollment.
KHSD students have more access to earn college credits while in high school than ever before. It is indeed an exciting time to be a student in the KHSD!
Dean McGee, Ph.D., is the Associate Superintendent of Educational Services and Innovative Programs for the Kern High School District.