September 16, 2016
Dear Brookings Harbor School District Board Members,
At BHHS we have a common mission to create a school culture that is positive and supportive for everyone. Reports from teachers combined with the looks on our students’ faces indicate the start of the school year was successful. Teachers have what they need in terms of resources and students are embracing Bruin Pride. They are getting to class on time and engaging in their learning.
In our effort to ensure all our students graduate from high school ready for college and/or career, we continue to focus on offering students the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school. Numerous research studies over the last decade have provided ample data that indicate when high school students are able to earn college credit in high school they are more likely to experience success in college (Berger, et al., 2013; Hoffman, Vargas, & Santos, 2009; Swanson, 2008).
Specifically, findings suggest that when students who would have not otherwise believed they could go college complete dual credit classes this fosters optimism that they can be successful in college and earn a postsecondary degree (Swanson, 2008). Reaching out to students who are economically disadvantaged by offering them the opportunity to complete college credit is vital to improving the district’s achievement gap between high and low socio-economic groups of students. Moreover, this concept is confirmed in the research done by Hoffman, Vargas and Santos in their study entitled, “New Directions for Dual Enrollment: Creating Stronger Pathways from High School through College.” The bulleted list below shows the benefits of students having the opportunity to earn college credit in high school:
• Increase the pool of historically underserved students who are ready for college.
• Provide realistic information to high school students about the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in postsecondary education.
• Improve motivation through high expectations and the promise of free courses.
• Decrease the cost of postsecondary education by compressing the years of financial support needed.
• Create a feedback loop between K–12 and postsecondary systems around issues of standards, assessments, curriculum, and transitions from high school to college. (Hoffman, Vargas, & Santos, 2009)
Additionally, data from the U.S. Department of Education (Adelman, 1999, 2006) indicate that the accumulation of twenty college credits by the end of the first calendar year of college is a strong predictor that a student will successfully earn a college credential. At BHHS, students have the opportunity to complete over 50 college credits during high school. At BHHS we continue to benefit from our partnership with Southwest Oregon Community College. We currently offer the following dual credit courses through SWOCC: Writing 121 and 122; English 104 and105; Biology 101 and 102; Chemistry 221 and 222; Spanish 101, 102, and 103. Human Development 100 and 101 All our students can achieve with Bruin Pride are also offered at BHHS. These courses have to do with College Readiness and Community Service. We are also working to articulate our government and economics classes, as well as speech and psychology, to dual credit through SWOCC as well. Our Health Care CTE program offers college credits in Medical Terminology, Health Occupations, Body Structures and Functions (Anatomy), and First Aid. Our Digital Graphics CTE Program offers college credit in Computer Information Systems 125PH. Our new CTE program in Early Childhood Education is offering ECE 170, Health and Safety, with the expectation that we will phase in more dual credit opportunities as the program grows. Our STEM/Robotics is newly formed as well. Work this year includes articulations for Engineering and Manufacturing Technology for the 2017-18 school year. This year also brings with it a new partnership with Oregon Institute of Technology to offer dual credit in US History and Statistics. Because OIT is a four-year university the articulations work a bit differently, and our students will also be responsible for paying tuition starting the 2017-18 school year. The tuition will be offered at a reduced rate and tuition waivers will be available for our economically disadvantaged students. I will of course be tracking data so I can report back regarding the number of students and the number of college credits our students both attempt and complete over the course of the year.
Thank you again for your service to our students and staff. Brookings Harbor School District is a good place to be!
Sincerely, Lisa Dion, Principal Brookings Harbor High School