In the summer of 1975, I had just graduated from North Torrance High School and was preparing to attend UC Davis in the fall. As I reflected on my high school experience and thought about the challenge of college, I knew that I needed better preparation in chemistry. I decided to enroll in a chemistry class at nearby El Camino Community College in Torrance and spent 6 weeks with Mr. Kallan, plugging the holes in my understanding of chemistry. My experience led to straight A’s in the Chem 1 series at UC Davis and probably played a factor in my becoming a high school chemistry teacher. A community college course and instructor played a crucial role in my life and career.
The community college system in California has improved the lives of millions of students over the decades. This coming fall, the residents of Milpitas will have their own college extension program in a unique partnership between Milpitas Unified and the San Jose Evergreen Community College District. The shared vision of the two school boards over the last decade is taking physical shape as the building rises from the ground on Escuela Parkway. These are exciting times as we continue to innovate and improve the educational opportunities in Milpitas.
At the heart of our partnership is the shared use of the facility during the school day for Milpitas High School. The building will consist of nine classrooms including a full science lab for teaching biology and other related science courses. During the school day, Milpitas High will use four of the nine classrooms for high school courses taught by MHS teachers. This will provide a minimum of 24 sections, or 24 classroom periods, of instruction in new state-of-the-art facilities. Through this partnership, Milpitas High is gaining four brand new classrooms with one being a shared science lab, which will help accommodate our growing high school needs. But that is just the beginning of the partnership.
San Jose Evergreen will begin offering college courses to meet the needs of students who want to eventually transfer to four-year colleges. Our high school students will be able to be concurrently enrolled in both MUSD and the college district. They will be able to build hybrid schedules that allow them to take college courses during their high school day. We will have some scheduling and timing challenges to sort out, but very soon our high school students will be taking college classes with a double benefit – completing college work that is transferrable to any four year college and meeting their high school graduation requirements.
Milpitas is growing in so many ways – a new BART station, new housing that will bring quality families into our city, and now a college program in the heart of our school district. These are great times for the city of Milpitas and the future looks bright.