Grant to help align high school and college education in local area

Friday, September 28, 2012

By Jim Hills

Faculty at Shoreline Community College and the Shoreline School District will be working together to help students make the transition from high school to college classes.

The effort is called “Core to College” and is funded by a $30,000 grant administered by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Washington is one of 10 states to get the money provided by Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other grant partners are Education First Consulting and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

“This grant will enable math and English faculty from Shorewood and Shorecrest high schools and Shoreline Community College to align curriculum so that students have an easier time transferring to college,” according to Norma Goldstein, Dean of Humanities at Shoreline Community College. “College and high school faculty will be learning from each other.”

Pam Dusenberry, who teaches developmental-level English at the college, said she’s looking forward to collaborating with her high-school counterparts.

“We will be working together, grading actual work done by students and then comparing our assessments,” said Dusenberry, who has co-authored one book on developmental reading and writing and co-edited another. “The goal is for faculty members to better understand what is being expected at high school and college and see where our standards and teaching might better align.”

Math faculty from the college and high schools will use a similar process. 

At Shoreline, about 75 percent of incoming students who take the new-student assessment test known as COMPASS aren’t ready for college-level math classes.

According to recent studies, success at college-level math and English is key to the workforce needs in Washington.

A report by “A-Plus Washington,” notes the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs will grow by 24 percent in just the next six years and that by 2020, 70 percent of jobs in Washington will require a high school diploma. A-Plus Washington is led by League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, and Stand for Children.

The Core to College grant dovetails with another effort by the K-12 systems in the state to align their own educational standards. That program, called Common Core State Standards, is part of a national effort to establish a clear and efficient framework facilitating the successful transition from high school to college.

Shoreline Community College has a track record as a proving ground for new initiatives. Shoreline was one of the state’s 11 Opportunity Grant pilots and has developed one of the largest Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) programs in Washington. The college just launched the Shoreline Virtual College to reach more students and has expanded its campus internationalization effort to provide all students with a broader understanding and appreciation of global issues.

With college and high-school educators jointly develop resources over the next two years; the Core to College project is well-positioned to have a similar impact on educational delivery in the region.

Funding for Core to College is provided by Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The partners developed Core to College with the assistance of Education First Consulting, which will provide continuing project management. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the program’s fiscal sponsor, is responsible for grant decisions and all aspects of ongoing grant administration.


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