Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

PAUSD to host Middle College and College Now! programs, expand dual-enrollment offerings for 2024-25 school year

PAUSD+to+host+Middle+College+and+College+Now%21+programs%2C+expand+dual-enrollment+offerings+for+2024-25+school+year

On Oct. 24, the PAUSD Board of Education approved a proposal allowing the district to host its own Middle College and College Now! programs beginning next school year. Gunn will also offer a new English dual-enrollment course for seniors, pending approval from Foothill Community College.

Currently, the Middle College and College Now! programs — in which juniors and seniors take classes at Foothill — are outsourced to the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District.

Since the 2019-20 school year, Middle College has enabled students to attend high school English and history classes taught by certified MVLA teachers at Foothill College. Students attend classes in one of two 50-student cohorts during the two-year program. They can take up to 11 credits of college classes per quarter, pursuing in-person or asynchronous Foothill courses that fulfill their remaining MVLA graduation requirements and suit their interests, according to Lead Counselor David Leftwich.

To ensure a smooth transition to the new program, current Middle College juniors will remain with MVLA for their senior year, according to Leftwich. PAUSD’s Middle College program will enroll only juniors next year and expand to include seniors in the 2025-26 school year. Sophomores may also be included in the near future.

PAUSD Middle College senior Isaac Wang appreciates Middle College’s capacity to facilitate genuine connections and unique opportunities.

“It opens your horizons because it exposes you to a lot of different people from different places and of different ages,” Wang said. “I think where Foothill shines more compared to a high school is (in) its ability to connect you with your professors and a lot of real-world opportunities and referrals, like internships.”

Created in 2018, College Now! immerses students who may have “outgrown” high school in college-level work at Foothill, allowing participants to accrue 15 college credits each quarter.

The program, which will be renamed to Foothill Now! to reflect the new in-house program, is ideal for independent and self driven students, according to PAUSD College Now! junior Sophia Howell.

“There is some independence required to succeed, because a lot of the steps that you’re taking in terms of applying for the program is very self-driven,” she said. “There’s not a lot of guidance, apart from that of (College Now! advisor Gary) McHenry. His involvement is intentionally less hands-on than it would be with the Middle College program. Ultimately, as long as you possess those qualities, or you’re looking to develop those qualities, the program is suitable for pretty much anyone that would like to apply.”

According to Leftwich, the new model, in which PAUSD hosts both programs under PAUSD graduation requirements, will allow the district to better address individual students’ needs.

“Through our model and our planning, we can offer more direct and robust services than are currently available to PAUSD students in the MVLA model,” he said. These services include guidance and mental health resources.

Principal Wendy Stratton explained that PAUSD’s Middle College and Foothill Now! programs align with the district’s initiatives to give students alternative paths to college.

“(These programs can serve) as a pathway for students who may not fit the bill for a comprehensive high school experience,” she said. “It was kind of a no-brainer to bring it here, especially when we’re trying to support that pathway to college here in our district.”

Along with Foothill’s fully staffed tutoring center, students will have access to six new PAUSD classrooms on Foothill’s campus, according to Superintendent Don Austin.

Citing other students’ support for the program, Howell called on its potential to expand educational prospects for Gunn students.

“I would love to see more Gunn students at Foothill because I always give people a wave if I recognize them,” she said. “If it means getting more PAUSD students, opportunities, and involvement in the College Now! and Middle College programs, I think it’s a great move.”

In addition to these two programs, Gunn has proposed launching an English dual-enrollment program for seniors who are interested in taking English for college credit. According to English Instructional Lead Kate Weymouth, the current plan is to merge Gunn’s Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum class and Foothill’s English 1A and English 1B courses into one class at Gunn next year, taken during a normal class period. The class will be included in this spring’s course catalog.

“We have had ERWC for many years, but we’ve never run it as a dual-enrollment class with Foothill before,” Weymouth said. “This is the first time you will be able to take the class and get credit with Foothill, so students will receive weighted grades and college credit for their coursework.” Weymouth also emphasized dual-enrollment programs’ inclusive approach to higher-level learning.

“Not all students are Advanced Placement students, but that doesn’t mean not all students want rigor and exposure to college-level work,” she said. “So, we offer college-level work to a broader range of students with different interests or learning styles.”

Cassel, who researched dual enrollment and taught dual-enrollment courses at San Joaquin Delta College before coming to Gunn, the program provides an opportunity for students to try out a college English class in the safety of a high school environment.

“Early college opportunities can be transformative experiences for students who are looking for a chance to try out college and gain important exposure to college-level academic experiences,” she said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Oracle
$550
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Henry M. Gunn High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Sylvie Nguyen, Business Manager
Sophomore Sylvie Nguyen is a reporter for The Oracle. In her free time, she enjoys trying new foods and spending time at the beach.
Donate to The Oracle
$550
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *