Local District-South offers middle school students dual-enrollment at L.A. Harbor College

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 24, 2017) - Local District South will extend its practice of partnering with institutions of higher-learning by initiating a groundbreaking, dual-enrollment agreement between and Los Angeles Harbor College, the region’s top educational official said.

Marked by a ceremonial signing agreement today, the unique program allows middle school students to enroll into special courses at L.A. Harbor College. This plan represents the youngest age for taking classes on a college campus in L.A. Unified.

Consistent with its mission of providing pathways to higher education for all students, Local District-South signed promise agreements last year, guaranteeing preferred enrollment to its qualified graduates with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and California State University, Dominguez Hills. Though high schools and colleges historically have offered dual-enrollment programs, this pact between L.A. Harbor College and District middle school-age students is unprecedented in L.A. Unified. 

“This dual-enrollment agreement with L.A. Harbor College complements our promise agreements with Charles R. Drew and California State University, Dominguez Hills, and it takes us another step closer to assuring that all of our students graduate college- and career-ready,” Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing said.

“This is great for kids. When middle-school students experience college-level courses it demystifies the college experience. Please claim your college seat so that you can become the next great scientist, or lawyer, or teacher.”

District Superintendent Michelle King said exposing students to college at a younger age improves their chances of earning a degree.  

“My challenge to each and every one of you, is to take advantage of this opportunity,” King said at today’s event. “It is your education. It is your key to your future, and nobody can take it away from you.” She added: “My vision is for each student in L.A. Unified will have the opportunity to experience a college class before they graduate from high school.”

L.A. Harbor College President Otto Lee told an audience filled with middle-school students. “Right now, you are in college. Doesn’t that sound great?” 

This program assures college- and career-readiness by exposing eligible middle school students to the rigors and expectations of college coursework, but they will not yet earn college credits.                                                                                           

Among the proposed course offerings are:

  • Richard Henry Dana Middle School – Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson Middle School – Engineering Concepts
  • Alexander Fleming Middle School – Engineering Concepts
  • Stephen M. White Middle School – Health Occupations/Medical Terminology

Students will attend classes at their middle schools one day a week afterschool, and at L.A. Harbor College on Saturdays. Nancy Ceballos, deputy chief of staff to Dr. Richard Vladovic, said the school board member was proud that the unique program was being introduced in his district.          

Several students spoke at today’s event, excited over the new choices they said would aid their career path. “I want to pursue a career in electrical engineering,” said Maurijon Stewart, an eighth-grader at Dana Middle School said. “I also want to improve my writing skills, which is why I decided to push beyond my comfort zone and take a college course.”

Olivia Remedios, an eighth grader at Fleming Middle School, said she may pursue an engineering degree, though she noted few women choose that career path. She said, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if, in 10 or 15 years, I can be a mentor to students like myself?”

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 Pictured above from left: Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing, Fleming Middle School Principal Peter Hastings, Dana Middle School Principal Steven Gebhart, White Middle School Principal Dr. Adaina Brown, Los Angeles Harbor College President Dr. Otto Lee, Nancy Ceballos, deputy chief of staff to School Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic and Superintendent Michelle King. 

Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766