MSJC joins Regional Collaborative at College Opportunity Day of Action in Washington DC

December 4, 2014

Washington D.C. -- President Obama recognized the work of the Riverside County Education Collaboration, which includes Mt. San Jacinto College, during College Opportunity Day of Action today (Dec. 4, 2014) in Washington, D.C.

The innovative RCEC formed after the White House called for colleges, universities, businesses and non-profits to partner in order to get more students prepared for and graduate from college.

“The Riverside County Education Collaboration in California has set a goal of increasing FAFSA completion by 30 % and they are working to ensure that fewer students need remedial classes when they get to college,” President Obama said.

Tom Spillman, dean of Counseling and Student Services at Mt. San Jacinto College, joined six others from Riverside County and hundreds of other educators from across the nation during the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action. Joining President Obama were Vice President Biden and the First Lady.

Other RCEC members attending the College Opportunity Day of Action included:

  • Kenneth M. Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Kenneth M. Young
  • Dr. Judy White, Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent
  • Tim Ritter, Temecula Valley Unified School District Superintendent
  • Dr. Kim Wilcox, University of California at Riverside Chancellor
  • Mary Ann Edwards, City of Temecula Mayor
  • Mark Lenoir, Riverside County Office of Education Principal in Residence

“Mt. San Jacinto College is committed to helping all of the students in our region become more successful,” said MSJC Superintendent/President Roger Schultz. “The close ties we have with our partners in this region help us find innovative and targeted solutions to boost the college-going and success rates in this area. Our Business Degree Program with Cal State San Marcos, where students can earn an associate’s and bachelor’s in four years, is an example of that innovation. We are working to establish that program in other majors to help reduce the time and money it takes to earn a degree. We are proud to partner with the Riverside County Education Collaboration and take a lead on many of the initiatives to achieve the President’s goals. It is an honor to hear the work of our collaborative recognized by President Obama.”

Mt. San Jacinto College hosted a regional education summit in October with partners from the K-12 system to address new strategies that promote student success.

The summit, titled “Strengthening K-12 & Higher Education Alignment attracted administrators, counselors and teachers from high schools in districts that included Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, San Jacinto, Perris, Banning, Beaumont and Nuview. College administrators and counselors from Moreno Valley College, College of the Desert, the Riverside County Office of Education and Cal State San Marcos also attended.

Strategies established during the summit will be incorporated into MSJC’s Student Success Plan. MSJC will continue to work with K-12 districts throughout the year and hold future summits to ensure students are ready for colleges and careers. Spillman said the plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education to be considered for inclusion in a White House higher education initiative.

The Riverside County Education Collaborative (RCEC) is a grassroots movement in southern California with diverse cross-sector leadership throughout the Riverside County/ San Bernardino areas. The RCEC formed on July 27, 2014 in response to RCEC members’ participation in a working session at the U.S. Department of Education. Representing area school districts, higher education, City/County officials and private industry, the RCED collectively commits to the following goals geared to increase postsecondary access and attainment in the region through 2019:

  • Increase percentage of students applying to three or more colleges by 60%.
  • Increase percentage of FAFSA completions from 64% to 93% through school years ’18-19.
  • Increase the percentage of students enrolling in postsecondary education from 52% to 65%.
  • Decrease students needing remediation upon entering college, from 2.6% to 20%.

To increase college access, the RCEC will incorporate strategies such as professional development opportunities for high school counselors on FAFSA preparation and completion and the integration of FAFSA completion into school curriculum. College applications from California’s postsecondary institutions will also be integrated into the school curriculum. In its efforts to prevent “summer melt”, the Collaborative will track postsecondary enrollment and increase its communications with those students enrolled during the summer months to help guarantee they enter the first year of postsecondary education. Finally, the Collaborative will strive to reduce remediation by encouraging a college-going culture beginning at the middle school level, offering parent workshops to help increase parent involvement in their student’s education, offer special programs for students that need additional support and ensure college level coursework is offered to students once they reach high school.

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