Many school districts around the nation provide ways for high school students to earn college credit. Hayward, CA, may be the only one making that same offer to middle school students.
Instructors from Chabot College are teaching everything from early childhood development to engineering to five middle schools in the Hayward area. Each of the schools can offer one class per semester and credits the students earn are transferable after high school graduation.
The goal of the program is to provide college exposure for the youngsters, many of whom come from low-income families, according to a report from EdSource.
“As long as they can handle it, it’s good to challenge them,” said David Farbman, senior researcher for the National Center on Time and Learning. “You don’t want to push kids too hard, but given the right support, they can achieve at high levels.”
Chabot College chooses courses middle schools students should be able to handle and Hayward district staffers select students they think are ready to take the classes. The district also has an after-school staff to help students complete their work. State and federal after-school program grants fund the offering.
Over the first three semesters of the program, 175 students enrolled in classes, with some taking more than one. Students completed 72% of the classes with a grade of C or better, according to data from Chabot College.
“No one can tell them they’re not college material,” said Chien Wu-Fernandez, assistant superintendent of student and family services for the Hayward Unified School District. “They have just proved that they are.”