College in the High School earns recognition

WVC's College in the High School program earns recognition

Media Contacts: Jim Richardson, president, 509.682.6400, or Libby Siebens, executive director of community relations, 509.682.6436 (Mon. – Thurs.)

Tamra Jackson
Dr. Jim Richardson, WVC President, and Tamra Jackson,
WVC trustee

Wenatchee Valley College was nominated for the 2015 Bellwether Award for A Community College and High School Partnership Serving Students in a High-Minority, High-Poverty Population. The award recognizes outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges, and will be presented at the Community Colleges Futures Assembly in Orlando, Florida, in January. The nomination is a result of Dr. Jim Richardson's and Tamra Jackson's presentation at a conference in Prescott, Arizona, and recognizes WVC's very successful College in the High School program and partnership with Bridgeport High School.

The partnership first gained recognition in 2011, when Bridgeport High School was a finalist in the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge presented by the White House and the Department of Education. BHS has been recognized nationally and has won many awards for their success in raising the bar for student success. WVC and BHS also won the 2011 Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (WSASCD) State Team Award for their partnership.

This summer and fall, Dr. Jim Richardson, WVC President, and Tamra Jackson, BHS principal and a WVC trustee, presented information about the College in the High School program around the nation. Jeff Jackson, an Advanced Placement and college instructor, and Scott Sattler, the Bridgeport superintendent, have presented alongside Richardson and Jackson at most of their venues, which have included the Southern Forum of the College Board in Atlanta, the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC) spring conference in Yakima and the Rural Community College Alliance Annual Conference in Prescott, Arizona. In October, the four presented at the Association of Community College Trustees Leadership Congress in Chicago and the national conference for the College Board Forum in Las Vegas.

What is the significance of College in the High School?

Bridgeport is a financially depressed, isolated community with an 86 percent Hispanic student population and 100 percent free and reduced lunch population. The school district is seeking to increase the number of rigorous course opportunities, provide ongoing support to ensure student success in those courses, and to continue cultivating an academic and college-bound culture. To do so, the school has expanded the number of college and Advanced Placement courses at BHS.

College in the High School courses offered at BHS have increased from six to 13 between 2009-10 to 2014-15. BHS now offers four college English courses, two U.S. History, two biology, one kinesiology, one fitness lab, two political science and one sports nutrition.

Of the students taking AP and College in the High School courses in 2013-14, 99 percent remained in the courses and 95 percent were passing. As of 2014, 120 students out of 222 at the high school were taking college and/or Advanced Placement classes. An added advantage is that BHS pays for the credits earned by their students at the school, in addition to paying for the faculty who teach these courses. BHS has also seen an increase in graduation rates, from 86 percent in 2009 to 93 percent in 2013.

In order to encourage and cultivate a college-bound culture at the high school, BHS alumni who participated in College in the High School and AP courses speak to current students about their experiences in those programs, their current college experiences, and they participate in parent orientations and family nights. WVC also participates by conducting testing assessments for admission into College in the High School courses, coordinating college visitation experiences and maintaining articulation agreements with BHS. WVC faculty assist in the screening process of high school instructors who teach college courses, and they serve as points of contact for collaboration with those instructors. The high school and college are also working to continue expanding College in the High School courses offered at BHS, particularly in the areas of math and science, as well as exploring an associate of arts and sciences transfer degree offering on the BHS campus.

In addition to the recognition for the College in the High School program, Jackson has been selected for the America Achieves' Fellowship for Teachers and Principals as a fellow for 2014-16. The fellowship provides a platform for sharing best practices and gives educators a voice in local, state and national discussions about public education.

In a statement to the Quad City Herald, Jackson said, "I look forward to working with leaders and policy makers with whom I will engage through my work on advancing equity and access to rigorous course work and higher education for first generation students."

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Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our website at