(Bakersfield, CA) – Today, the County of Kern Board of Supervisors approved $400,000 in funding to Arvin High School to support the establishment of an educational partnership between Arvin High School, Bakersfield College, and Employers Training Resource to provide a complete general education certification program for high school students. The program, supported by matching funds from Bakersfield College, is called 1+1+2=Game Changer, and is designed to provide three educational pathways for Arvin High School students interested in pursuing higher education once they graduate from high school.
Educational pathways are partnerships between organizations which offer high school students a cohesive program of study and support services that streamlines the pathway from high school to college to career. In these pathways, students have access to academic and technical skill development programs, and career readiness trainings, all to support their movement through the educational system into the workforce.
“This program addresses critical skills gaps and workforce readiness issues in Arvin and Lamont,” said Teresa Hitchcock, assistant county administrative officer, County of Kern. “Through 1+1+2=Game Changer, Arvin High School, Bakersfield College, and Employers Training Resource are providing Arvin High School’s students an opportunity to enhance their educational futures with access to higher education courses, resources, and technology. Programs like 1+1+2=Game Changer lead to direct employability for industries in our county.”
The 1+1+2=Game Changer partnership places focus on early exposure to college-level work, starting with the freshman year in high school. Students in the program will learn in a state-of-the-art classroom, and test their skills on technologically-advanced equipment. The 1+1+2=Game Changer program is expected to start with an initial group of 30 incoming high school freshmen who have been recommended into the program by their high school counselors. Students will ease into the college-level work with a health class that counts for both high school and college credit. As students progress through their high school education and through the 1+1+2=Game Changer program, the coursework becomes progressively more difficult, increasing in complexity to college-level English and mathematics requirements.
“Anything we at Arvin High School can do to increase our kids’ exposure to college, and to show them that college is a possibility, is a plus,” said Carlos Sardó, principal of Arvin High School. “To make an improvement in higher education a reality, the college process needs to be more transparent. Many of the parents in the community have not been exposed to American higher education. With Supervisor Leticia Perez making this partnership possible, the exposure to college is more readily available to our students and their families.”
At the end of their four years in the program, students will have completed a full year of college-level general education courses, and will need just one more year at Bakersfield College to complete one of the three pathways 1+1+2=Game Changer provides:
“The 1+1+2=Game Changer program is in complete alignment with Bakersfield College’s Educational Master Plan, which has a focus on initiatives that work to improve higher education attainment in Kern County’s rural areas,” said Dr. Sonya Christian, president of Bakersfield College. “Bakersfield College is committed to the Arvin/Lamont community, and is working in collaboration with business and industry and other organizations to improve access to higher education to improve college and career readiness. Through this partnership, we are establishing the framework for a college-going culture.”
1+1+2=Game Changer is defined as:
“It is never too late to change the college-going culture in our community, and I am thankful to the planning coalition who recognized the need and made this effort possible,” said Dr. Bryon Schaefer, superintendent of the Kern High School District. “Through dual enrollment and clear pathways to education, those of us with the responsibility to educate the community can make college a reality for all our students.”
Funding for the four-year 1+1+2=Game Changer program comes from the county’s “Pathway to Processing” mitigation funding, created in 2012 as part of a policy to allow the construction of commercial solar energy projects on farmland. Project developers provide the county with funding to offset the loss of agricultural jobs, which is then used to support programs that benefit agricultural interests, programs, and workforce issues. The County of Kern Board of Supervisors allocated $400,000 to Arvin High School for 1+1+2=Game Changer, and Bakersfield College is matching the investment with $500,000 in rural initiative budget funding.
Through the funding from the County of Kern, Arvin High School will provide textbooks to students enrolled in the dual enrollment courses, offset the cost of a teacher’s aide, and support half the salary for instructors. The funding also includes the development of an interactive classroom at Arvin High School to facilitate online instruction from Bakersfield College’s Panorama Campus, or from any higher education institution Arvin High School may be interested in developing a partnership. Bakersfield College’s matching funds will increase the number of courses already offered at Arvin High School with additional courses during the traditional high school hours by offsetting the instructor’s salary and covering the costs of recruitment, matriculation, college-level coursework, a part-time counselor housed at Arvin High School, and two teacher’s aides on the Panorama Campus dedicated to interactive classes.
An additional $40,000 from the County of Kern is directed to the Kern Community College District to partner with Employers Training Resource to assist out of school youth ages 18-24 with job readiness training.