COM Brings College Classes to High School Campus

August 13th, 2015 - 4:07pm

25 Terra Linda H.S. Freshmen to Kick-Off COMPASS Program

KENTFIELD, CA — Twenty-five incoming freshmen at Terra Linda High School and their families will be formally pledging to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program that brings College of Marin classes to a local high school. The goal of COMPASS, which stands for College Of Marin Providing Access and Supporting Success, is to shore up the educational future of promising students early in their education.

“The intent of the program is to make college an inevitability rather than a remote possibility,” said Jonathan Eldridge, COM vice president of student learning and student services.

Participating students can expect to complete a year of college work before they graduate high school. They will receive additional tutoring support, and, if they eventually choose to attend College of Marin, a free year of college expenses. Almost 75 percent of students entering college need some remediation—even those who have graduated and met entrance requirements. COMPASS is aimed at minimizing barriers so students who typically would not go to college or would struggle to get to college, get where they want to go faster.

“We’re exceptionally grateful to College of Marin for being willing to engage as partners in this process with us,” said Lars Christensen, Terra Linda High School principal. “For first-generation students, that path can be mysterious. It’s changing hope into expectation.”

Terra Linda is only the first phase of the dual enrollment program. The countywide educational collaboration is working to bring College of Marin to high schools throughout the district. Another 25 students will join the program at San Marin High School in the spring. The expectation is not for every student to attend College of Marin, but to graduate from high school prepared to attend the college of their choice with more than 20 units of transferrable college credit. COMPASS also engages the families through planning support in the college selection process, strengthening their understanding of the financial aid process, framing college expectations and opportunities, and even encouraging other family members to further their own education.

COMPASS Contract 2015-2020 Kick-Off

Top officials from College of Marin, San Rafael City Schools, and Terra Linda High School will join parents and students at the COMPASS Contract kick-off on Monday, August 17. Although symbolic, the signatures of students, parents or guardians, the Terra Linda principal, and Superintendent/President David Wain Coon, are meant to represent a circle of engagement and commitment to ensure student success.

“The declaration is that we’re all in this together,” Eldridge said. “Student success is everybody’s business. We all need to be engaged.”

The students will then attend their first-ever college class on that following Friday – Counseling 115, Planning for Success in College. The class will include guest speakers, college campus tours, learning about college culture, barriers to education, and basic terminology used on college campuses.

Collaborative Program Funding

In addition to College of Marin, program partners include Marin Community Foundation, Marin County School Volunteers, San Rafael City Schools, and Terra Linda High School. The program is funded in part by a $50,000 planning grant from the Marin Community Foundation and designated educational equity funds from COM as well as by local high schools.

“When they’re 18 and leaving us, success in college will be something they fully expect to achieve,” Christensen said.

Program contact: Tara Arenas
College of Marin COMPASS Coordinator
(415) 457-8811, ext. 7761

COMPASS Kick-Off Celebration
August 17, 7 p.m.
Terra Linda High School Library
320 Nova Albion Way, San Rafael, CA 94903