EMUHSD Pledge Compact Partners Present to National Community College Hispanic Council

by Anne Donofrio-Holter
January 9, 2013 • 394 views

Representatives of the El Monte Union Pledge Compact, a partnership between El Monte Union High School District (EMUHSD), Rio Hondo College, University of California Irvine (UCI) and California State University Los Angeles (CSULA), presented an overview of the program to members of the National Community College Hispanic Council.

According to EMUHSD Superintendent Nick Salerno, the partnership began seven years ago when Rio Hondo College received a GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant to work with the students of EMUHSD’s Mountain View High School along with students in the Mountain View School District.  GEAR UP is a “federally funded program designed to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.”  Due to the strong commitment from EMUHSD partners at Rio Hondo College and UCI, along with a collaboration between counselors, school staff and parents, the program is now offered to all EMUHSD students.  CSULA joined the partnership last summer.

The Pledge Compact guarantees EMUHSD students, beginning with the graduating class of 2011, a one-time priority registration at Rio Hondo College.  Those opting to attend Rio Hondo College are guaranteed a transfer to UCI or CSULA at a later date.  Students must take advantage of this one-time only registration guarantee the first semester following graduation from high school.  Students must also meet college eligibility requirements.

“This means they are essentially guaranteed the courses of their choice for their first semester.  This is a huge asset, especially today with so many cutbacks,” said Salerno.  “Furthermore, EMUHSD students will have two available paths for garnering automatic admission into UCI or CSULA.”

“College can be more of a struggle for students in lower income communities,” said Dr. Mike Muñoz, Rio Hondo College Associate Dean of Student Services.  “This partnership commits itself to making the dream of a higher education a reality for El Monte Union High School District students and is a great example of a benefit to a large number of students in our community.”

“This means, over time, higher college A-G requirements completion rates, higher degree completion rates, and eventually a positive change for the community as more students attend and complete college,” said Salerno.

The Pledge Compact was named a top ten finalist for the 2012 Community College Futures Assembly Bellweather Award.

“Although the partnership did not win the top national award, being selected as one of the top ten in the nation is a great honor,” said Salerno.  “We are very pleased to present an overview of the Pledge Compact with the National Community College Hispanic Council and share with them the commitment and activities that each entity has committed to further the college going rate of our students.”

According to Salerno, the El Monte Pledge students are showing great gains.

“They are outperforming the general student population in course completion and retention,” he said.  “it is our hope that this program will continue to provide additional incentives for more students to pursue post-secondary education.”

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