This morning I attended the County of Kern Board of Supervisors meeting to wait for a very special agenda item: the awarding of $400,000 to Arvin High School for a partnership with Bakersfield College that brings college courses to Arvin and helps students in the area achieve higher education completion sooner, and in fields of study relevant to immediate employability in key industries.
Bakersfield College has been focusing on improving educational attainment levels in rural Kern and the work in the Arvin/Lamont community has been critical. With the funding from the County of Kern Board of Supervisors for the new 1+1+2=Game Changer program, Bakersfield College’s relationship with Arvin High School is expanding, and the opportunities for local students are increasing tremendously.
Much of what Bakersfield College does is guided by the Educational Master Plan, which directs the college to “explore new avenues” to educate the area’s socioeconomically disadvantaged population. Within the Educational Master Plan is the Rural Communities Initiative, which focuses on the rural communities inside Bakersfield College’s service area, and outlines specific strategies and tactics for reaching these communities with higher education information and access.
Richard McCrow, who came to Bakersfield College to oversee the operations at our campus in Delano, quickly became Bakersfield College’s lead administrator for all of our rural initiatives, designing programs and partnerships to take higher education into communities like Arvin, Lamont, Delano, Shafter, Wasco, and many more. The Rural Communities Initiative guides how Bakersfield College moves among communities where unemployment and poverty are often higher than statewide averages and educational attainment levels lower.
Rich has been expanding our offerings in the Arvin area. We already offer courses in the evenings at Arvin High School, and now the plan includes components focusing on dual enrollment and educational advising. Dual enrollment allows high school students to take courses that count simultaneously for high school and college credit, and these courses help students work toward their higher education goals.
I’m pleased that today, the County of Kern Board of Supervisors put their support behind the program by awarding Arvin High School $400,000 to make the partnership possible through more courses, a state-of-the-art interactive classroom, and technologically advanced equipment.
In brief, 1+1+2=Game Changer provides a program of study for incoming high school freshmen to take college courses at Arvin High School during the traditional school day. At the end of four years, these students will have completed their high school education and a full year of Bakersfield College classes, and will need just one more year at Bakersfield College to complete one of three educational pathways:
- Transfer to California State University, Bakersfield for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Logistics.
- Completion of an Associate of Arts in Agriculture Business Management at Bakersfield College.
- Application to the Bakersfield College Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation degree program.
So many people made this program possible. I thank our partners, Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer and Arvin High School Principal Carlos Sardo for their willingness to make differentiated educational opportunities possible. I thank the team that put together the proposal for their hard work: Rich McCrow, Delano Campus Director; Gustavo Enriquez, Student Success Program Manager at the Delano Campus; Veronica Lucas, Counselor at the Delano Campus; and Jareth Regpala, Counselor at Arvin High School. The 1+1+2=Game Changer program was supported among county administrative staff, including Assistant County Administrative Officer Teresa Hitchcock and Ricardo Del Hoyo from the office of Supervisor Leticia Perez.
The original momentum to making this happen came from Michael Turnipseed, CEO of Kern Taxpayers Association and Supervisor Leticia Perez, both not only committed to workforce development for the region but also able to take action quickly and decisively. I enjoyed the remarks made by Alfonso Noyola, City Manager for Arvin, as well as David Teasdale from Kern Community College District.
Things can happen rather fast here at Bakersfield College, and I’m glad we have a team working together who are willing to step in and take care of whatever may come up. That was the case yesterday when I received a phone call asking if BC could draft a press release. I called Amber Chiang, Bakersfield College’s public information officer, and gave her little more than three hours to talk to five different people and read a 25-page proposal in order to create a draft press release that could be distributed to news media as soon as the Board of Supervisors approved the funding. Of course, as she always does, Amber took the task on with flair and gusto, and produced a release that went out at 10:32 this morning. The release is posted on Amber’s page on the Bakersfield College website if you’d like to read it.
I look forward to telling you more about 1+1+2=Game Changer in coming blog posts. With this program, we are truly changing the game of education for current, and future, students in the Arvin and Lamont area of Kern County. We are BC!