Breaking Down Barriers to Support Black Students

17 Nov 2021

An “acceleration, not remediation” approach has led to remarkable success for Black students in the early college program at Mount Miguel High School. Dr. Mark Jeffers, Matador Early College Program (MEC) coordinator, presented “Black Student Success in Dual Enrollment: A Case Study,” at the California Association of Black School Educators (CABSE) annual education conference in October. Dr. Jeffers shared MEC’s work in dual enrollment. The partnership between Cuyamaca College and Mount Miguel High School is part of the statewide Dual Enrollment for Equitable Completion (#DE4EC) community of practice supported by CLP.

CLP supported and facilitated the session. Laurencia Walker, a senior CLP consultant, provided an overview of dual enrollment in California and the #DE4EC demonstration project.

The overall student population at Mount Miguel High School is 76% socioeconomically disadvantaged and 13% are African American. Presenting data from the graduating class of 2020-21, Dr. Jeffers noted that 100% of MEC students graduated, which has been the norm for students in the program for seven years, and all had completed A-G requirements. In the class of 2021, 22 graduates were accepted into college and 12 of them decided to continue study at Cuyamaca College or Grossmont College. Dr. Jeffers noted that in MEC they’re promoting a college-going mindset. They avoid talking about community college as “less than,” so that students won’t think of community college simply as a “grade 13” extension of their high school experience.

Dr. Jeffers started intense recruiting efforts to middle schools the year before the covid-19 pandemic. Of the MEC students in this cohort, Black/African American students make up about 30%; in this subgroup, Black male students are the majority (65%).

Some themes from Dr. Jeffers’ presentation:

    • Students in MEC experience a college atmosphere. Mount Miguel High School has arranged bus service to take students to the Cuyamaca college campus, so they have the experience of “going to college.”
    • Family and community engagement is key. Recruiting starts with outreach to middle school students and their families. For students in the program, MEC communicates closely with parents and families so they’ve bought into the goals and know what’s going on. Turnout at parent meetings is high.
    • Collaborative, committed partnership with Cuyamaca College. Although there’s no memorandum of understanding (MOU) in place, the partners work together and come up with solutions to best serve students.
    • Students and families see themselves in MEC leadership, and Dr. Jeffers is a trusted part of the community.

Similar issues are emerging from the #DE4EC community of practice. To join an online dual enrollment community of practice hosted by CLP, email Eder Flores.