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Partners in Innovation: How a High School and College Are Improving Outcomes for Youth in San Diego

Joy Coates and Michael Webb

The early college high school program at San Diego City College is a partnership of the college, San Diego Unified School District, and several state and national organizations. The partnership has successfully implemented a variety of college-readiness and college-connected strategies, including an early college school, to better prepare students for college work without the need for remedial courses. Students served by the partnership are low income, first generation, and come from populations that are underrepresented in higher education.

The partnership design, informed by the national Early College High School Initiative, includes early assessment and attention to individual student needs, academic acceleration, extensive student supports, student enrollment in college courses for high school and college credit, summer programs and secondary-postsecondary planning, alignment, and professional development. Results show improved performance on the SAT, standardized tests, and college courses. In addition, high school graduates who participated in the pr ogram show high college persistence rates. Implications for other secondary-postsecondary collaborations are discussed, including leadership, constituent buy-in, secondary-postsecondary alignment, planning and collaboration, building the program based on strengths and priorities, key roles, location and facilities, and communication.