How did students at a rural high school in Central California no only acquire the necessary skills to become college ready, but also to pass college-level math classes, all in the span of their senior year?
Raising the bar was the key. The real magic happened, however, as everyone banded together - from teachers and counselors to leadership and administration - propelling the project to long-term success.
Setting Dinuba is a small city in California’s Central Valley. Located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley in Tulare County, Dinuba is located about 180 miles north of Los Angeles and 200 miles south of San Francisco.
Tulare County is the second-leading producer of agricultural commodities in the United States, with Dinuba producing 40% of the world’s raisins. Of the approximately 25,000 residents, 86% are Hispanic or Latino and 26% live in poverty. The major employers are in agriculture and at distribution centers.
The project launched in the 2018–19 school year with three essential components supporting its success.
First, a math professor at Reedley College was eager to collaborate with his high school counterparts.
Third, the entire math and counseling departments were included in the project’s development.
In the 2018–19 school year, 29% of 11th graders met or exceeded standards on the state test, an increase of 11 percentage points from the previous year. Of the high school seniors, 60 participated in the dual-enrollment course and 98% passed. Additionally, 79% of seniors were prepared for college, an increase of 12 percentage points from the previous year.
In the 2019–20 school year, the STEM pathway was added, creating three separate pathways for students to earn college math credit. Of the 71 students who participated, 94% earned college math credit. The college readiness rate increased to 81%. No other data was available, as exams were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Despite the pandemic, calculus was added in 2020–21 with 22 students and a 100% pass rate. Overall, nearly one-third of Dinuba’s seniors participated in dual-enrollment, with 85% earning college credit.
Of the students in the 2018–19 cohort, 22 had matriculated to community college and 89% were persisting.
SENIORS PARTICIPATING IN DUAL-ENROLLMENT
4 KEYS TO SUCCESS
In addition to the shared decision-making, we credit Dinuba’s success to the following:
First, the dedicated math coach continually looked at the big picture and led the department toward a common goal.
Second, the collaboration between teachers and counselors kept everyone focused on shared student outcomes.
Third, leadership actively involved and supported both teachers and counselors throughout the project.
And fourth, everyone put the students first and focused on how to best prepare them for the next phase of their academic journey.