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Santa Monica College, School District Boards to Hold Joint Meeting

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By Lookout Staff

September 14, 2015 -- For the first time in decades, the governing boards of Santa Monica College and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) will hold a special joint meeting this week.

At the meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at School District headquarters, the two boards will explore how to better work together to help District students, especially those from poor and minority families, make the transition into higher education.

“We want to ensure that we bring even more SMMUSD students into the higher education pipeline,” said Rob Rader, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees.

“We also want to enhance the work we have already begun to address what is a priority to both our institutions – increased access and success for all our students, especially historically underrepresented students,” Rader said.

Said School Board president Laurie Lieberman, “We are thrilled to have a collaborative partnership with SMC, which benefits all students in our community,” “SMMUSD students are fortunate to have such a wonderful institution of higher learning close by to attend concurrently and after graduation.”

The collaboration stems from a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two governing bodies in 2007 that, among other things, created joint programs and established objectives, college officials said.

“The key elements of the MOU include the dual enrollment program, summer programs for high school students, shared use of facilities and the collaboration and articulation of career and technical education programs,” according to the meeting agenda.

“Along with collaborating on the objectives of the MOU, the district’s staff work together to enhance existing programs and create new opportunities for students,” the agenda item said

The number of high school students attending college classes at SMC has been growing since the Young Collegians program was established under the MOU eight years ago, Smith said.

The summer program – which allows Samohi students to get a head start on SMC classes and accrue up to 14 college units – has grown from 15 students in 2007 to 64 today, Smith said. This year, the SMC Board of Trustees waived enrollment fees for qualifying high school students.

This fall under the LA HI-TECH grant, the college also is offering graphic design and computer science classes at Samohi to “bring interested students into a higher education pathway at SMC that will lead to tech jobs,” Smith said.

“During this special meeting, the members of the two governing boards will discuss the dual enrollment program; and the readiness of high school students who proceed to SMC from SMMUSD,” according to college officials.

To increase the likelihood of the program’s success, the Boards at the meeting Thursday also will explore developing data-driven benchmarks to measure progress and inform curriculum and resources, officials said.

“Our partnership will be an example for all California districts in sharing resources, data and personnel for the benefit of students,” Rader said.

The meeting will be held in the District Office Board Room at 1651 16th Street in Santa Monica. To view the meeting agenda click here.

For more information on the meeting, contact swahrenbrock@smmusd.org or Rose_Lisa@smc.edu.


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