Partnerships between community colleges
and K– 12 districts bolster college readiness
As recently as seven or eight years ago, three quarters of the high school graduates in Florida’s Seminole County had to take a remedial math class when they got to college, says Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Walt Griffin. Thanks to a partnership between the school district and Seminole State College of Florida, however, that figure is now down to about 13
percent, Griffin says.
Seminole State College has helped the K– 12 district align its math curriculum with
the college’s math gateway course to make sure students are learning the foundational
skills they’ll need for success after high school. Seminole County high school students
also have the opportunity to take classes either in their own schools or on the Seminole
State campus for both high school and college credit.
“We’re fortunate to have a supportive and collaborative relationship with our local
public schools,” says Stephen Summers, associate vice president of the college’s School
of Arts and Sciences. These efforts are helping to ensure that students are “ready to go”
when they arrive on campus for their first year of college, Summers says.
Partnerships like the one between Seminole State College and its local school
system are becoming increasingly common as K– 12 and community college leaders
aim to make sure that high school graduates are college ready.
“Community college and K– 12 partnerships are critical in developing pathways
for student success,” says Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of
Community Colleges (AACC).
Improving college readiness is a critical focus of AACC’s 21st-Century Initiative. For
the past few years, AACC and AASA, the School Superintendents Association, have held
an annual college readiness summit in which community college presidents and K– 12
superintendents have shared best practices for working together on this issue.
In February, AACC also partnered with the Association of Community College
Trustees and Higher Ed for Higher Standards on a report about K– 12 and community
college collaboration. The writers call on community college presidents and trustees to
embrace the higher standards many K– 12 school systems have adopted and implement
strategies to increase college readiness and success.
One way community colleges and K– 12 school districts can team up to improve college
readiness is by aligning their curriculum to make sure high school students are learning
the skills they’ll need for success in college, Bumphus says.
For instance, faculty from Seminole State College and the Seminole County
Public Schools co-designed a college readiness math course for students to take in
their junior year of high school if they were showing signs they might not be ready
for college-level math.