Next year, Federal Way Public Schools will offer math and English Language Arts classes for high school seniors who need to ramp up their skills in order to get into and succeed in college.
Bridge to College” courses will be offered for seniors at Todd Beamer High School, Decatur High School and Truman High School next fall, thanks to a grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
Students’ scores on the new state assessment, also called the Smarter Balanced Assessment, will determine whether they qualify for the program. Taking the new assessment is not a graduation requirement for Washington students until the graduating class of 2017 (this year’s 10th grade students). However, this and next year’s 11th grade students are encouraged to take it regardless, in part because it’s a good indicator of college readiness.
A score of three or four on the new state assessment indicates that the student meets or exceeds expectations of being “college-ready.” For students who score below a three, college is not out of the picture, but there’s some work to be done in order to gain the skills needed for college success. These students are the ones that Bridge to College is designed for.
The curriculum was developed collaboratively by higher education faculty, high school teachers, and curriculum specialists from multiple colleges and school districts. Bridge to College courses are grounded in essential career and college readiness expectations as reflected by Washington’s Common Core state learning standards. The goals of the program are to:
• Allow more high school students to avoid remediation and placement testing when they enter college
• Improve curricular alignment between K-12 and entry-level college courses in math and English
• Develop and sustain local college/school district partnerships and faculty/teacher collaboration
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges received a grant from College Spark Washington to support establishing the courses in high schools across the state over the next three years.