Officials hope to get high school kids into early college-credit courses at PCC
By Andre Coleman 03/26/2009
Pasadena Unified School District high school students with the academic potential may have an opportunity in the fall to attend classes on the Pasadena City College campus and earn credits toward a college degree.
The proposed Early College High School program could cut by half the two years it normally takes to earn an associate’s degree, said PUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz.
There are currently 200 such college-credit programs operating in 24 states, including California. Much like those now in use at Moorpark and San Bernardino Valley junior colleges, the PUSD/PCC program is intended to reach low-income youth, English-language learners and minority students.
Diaz, who worked with PCC’s administration and board of trustees to get the program going, has some personal experience to draw from: While serving as superintendent of the Gilroy Unified School District in 2006, Diaz partnered with Gavilan College to create the Dr. TJ Owens Early College Academy, which currently enrolls 151 high school freshmen and sophomores.
Diaz is hoping for quick approval from the Pasadena Board of Education and the PCC Board of Trustees, neither of which have acted on the proposal.
“The program is designed to look at those students who are underachieving but have high potential for college,” said Diaz. “We want to identify them in the eighth grade and offer them early college high school. By the time they finish high school, they may have half or [all of] their associate’s degree completed.”