Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Higher Education Week puts focus on the future

LAKE COUNTY – With the new school year now in full swing, the Lake County Office of Education (LCOE) is planning activities this week to emphasize the importance of going that next step beyond high school and seeking college and vocation education. {sidebar id=12}

Higher Education Week is a two-part event, said Jamey Gill, a curriculum and instruction specialist and coordinator of LCOE’s Lake County College Going Initiative.

Activities this week, said Gill, target seniors as they prepare to apply to colleges and make the decision about where they’ll attend. A second week of activities scheduled for the spring will be for all students, down into the middle school grade levels, she said.

This week students will have the chance to visit with college recruiters and LCOE will aid them in making decisions about what steps to take next in preparing for education beyond high school.

“We give a general presentation to them about the different forms of higher education,” said Gill, including schools in the California State University and University of California systems, and private and vocational colleges.

Seniors can then attend breakout sessions and ask detailed questions about the application process, Gill said. “That’s where they really dig into what they need to do for their application.”

LCOE's programs focusing on higher education are critical in Lake County: Gill provided information that reports only 77 percent of the county's population over age 25 has a high school diploma. At the same time, only 12 percent of county residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to the statewide average of 29.1 percent.

Beginning in 2004, the College-Going Initiative began through cooperation with the University of California Office of the President and LCOE, in an effort to promote a college-going culture in Lake County.

In 2003, only 36 percent of students attended college, opposed to 46 percent statewide. The report does not include more current attendance percentages.

The initiative has included addressing the biggest factors for low acceptance: low completion of “A-G” coursework, the 15 yearlong high school courses ranging from history, math, English, to lab sciences, second languages, visual and performing arts, and electives; parental education levels; and lack of contact with colleges.

An initiative report Gill provided explained that, since its inception, county schools have achieved an 85-percent University of California system admission rate, compared with 72 percent statewide. County high schools also have achieved a 55-percent yield rate, compared to 52 percent statewide, which counts the percentage of students admitted to a UC who actually attend.

The report also states that A-G coursework completion rates have grown from 19.4 to 25 percent over the past three years.

During the spring, LCOE reported that 109 local students had been accepted at four-year colleges.

“What we’re really hoping to do is increase that number quite a bit,” said Gill.

Reviewing this year's group of 109 four-year attendees reveals some surprises. In particular, only six high school graduates from one of the county’s strongest school districts, Middletown, were accepted to four-year colleges.

The top district for college acceptances was Kelseyville High School, with 38; followed by Clear Lake High School with 36; Lower Lake High School, 16; and Upper Lake High School, 13.

Every year, local high schools note fluctuations in the number of seniors attending colleges and universities for a variety of reasons, said Gill. Overall, she said, they are noticing a steady increase in high school seniors applying for and attending colleges and universities.

Higher Education Week’s main goal, said Gill, is to help those numbers get higher and more constant by educating young people – and their parents – about their many educational options.

Part of Gill’s plans for the coming school year includes widening those statistics, and working with high school counselors to track where students are going in addition to four-year schools.

For the first time this year, said Gill, fall Higher Education Week will include evening activities for the community as a whole.

The focus has been primarily on high schoolers, she said. “Now that we’ve got that going pretty strong we’re looking at branching out to the younger crowd.”

The College-Going Initiative

Lake County Office of Education’s College-Going Initiative includes a variety of activities at different grade levels meant to prepare young people for higher education, and promote a college-going environment in rural and remote areas.

Programs include:

  • Summer Algebra Academy for students preparing to enter the ninth grade. All five county high schools participate, with some hosting additional geometry and algebra II academies.
  • Ninth graders have access to the University of California College Prep College Path Web site, www.uccp.org and the California Educational Roundtable's college and career planning site, www.californiacolleges.edu.
  • The “College: Making It Happen” presentation, designed to introduce ninth graders to the potential of earning a college degree, the four systems of Higher Education, financial aid and scholarships, and the high school classes and skills needed to attend college.       
  • Cornell Notes, a research-based strategy proven to improve student performance. Promoted by the AVID program, it encourages students to view writing as a tool for learning for ninth graders.
  • The Time Management Unit in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) curriculum materials helps ninth graders learn to analyze how they spend their time, set priorities, and plan ahead.
  • Tenth grade students and their families are invited to attend campus tours at a college of the high school’s choice
  • “Dream a Little Dream”: This lesson asks 10th graders to think about what they hope their futures will look like, and how much money they will need to support the lifestyle they choose. It's part of the Realizing the College Dream curriculum created by UC Berkeley.
  • Based on AVID curriculum, this PowerPoint presentation helps 10th graders develop proactive test taking habits and skills to prepare for a variety of assessments, such as the CAHSEE, SAT, ACT and College Entrance Exams.
  • “Debunking the Myths of Financial Aid” is a workshop for 10th graders and their families to help them learn how to apply for financial aid, regardless of income or circumstances.
  • Free SAT/ACT preparation is offered countywide. Collegepath.org also offers free online SAT/ACT prep for all grade levels.
  • Higher Education Week II: Representatives from UC, CSU, Community College, Private and Vocational schools come together in the spring to students at all Lake County Schools. Students are provided with a group presentation. Parents are also invited to attend evening presentations.
  • Higher Education Week I: Representatives from UC, CSU, Community College, Private and Vocational schools come together in the fall to visit Lake County seniors.  Students are provided with a group presentation and individual institution workshops. Parents are also invited to attend evening presentations.
  • College application workshops: Students applying to 4-year colleges and universities are are provided assistance with their college application(s).
  • Financial aid workshops: School sites offer a variety of financial aid workshops, helping students to complete their financial applications.
  • University Admittance Reception: The Admit Reception, a highlight of the College Going Initiative, is a celebration recognizing students who have been accepted to a 4-year institution.
Participating high schools: Clear Lake High School, Kelseyville High School, Lower Lake High School, Middletown High School, Upper Lake High School.

Participating college and universities: Mendocino College, Yuba College (Clearlake Campus), Santa Rosa Junior Collegem California State University East Bay, Chico State University, Humboldt State University, Sonoma State University, DeVry University, Empire College, Pacific Union College, St. Mary’s College, University of the Pacific, Universal Technical Institute, University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, University of California Irvine, University of California Merced, University of California Riverside, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California San Diego, University of California San Francisco, University of California Office of the President.

For more information, contact JameyGill, coordinator, Lake County College Going Initiative, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (707) 262-4123.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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