Qualifying high school students from three Coachella Valley school districts will be guaranteed admission to Cal State San Bernardino and its Palm Desert Campus thanks to a historic agreement signed on Monday, Aug. 18.
Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales, along with Superintendent Darryl Adams from Coachella Valley Unified, Superintendent Gary Rutherford from Desert Sands Unified and Christine Anderson from Palm Springs Unified, signed a memorandum of understanding that will help make college a reality for the three districts’ students.
“We believe this partnership will help build new educational opportunities for students from throughout the Coachella Valley and elevate our area’s college-going and college-completion rates, which are among the lowest in the nation — a situation we’re all committed to changing,” Morales said. “As part of this agreement, the districts will provide incoming high school freshmen with a challenging academic program and the appropriate advising support to help them meet eligibility requirements for the California State University system.”
This means that all students from the three districts who stay on track with good grades and meet college entrance pre-requisites, known as the A-G requirements, as well as criteria for impacted majors, will automatically earn a place in at Cal State San Bernardino and its Palm Desert Campus, Morales said. The A-G requirements are college preparatory courses in history, social science, English, math, lab sciences and a language other than English.
The agreement will not only make the path to college smoother for qualified students, but it will also be beneficial once they arrive at campus. Students will need few, if any, remedial classes and will be able to start taking courses within their major sooner, which helps them to graduate in a timely manner.
Morales said studies show that the percentage of students who come to college not needing remedial classes graduate at significantly higher numbers than students who need remediation.
Adams called it a wonderful opportunity for the district’s students and vowed that students from Coachella Valley Unified “will be prepared.”
Rutherford called the event a big day for Desert Sands Unified, which like many other school districts, had been struggling with scarce resources to educate its students. Rutherford also said the Palm Desert Campus should adjust its master plan because “we plan on filling this facility to overflowing.”
Anderson said Cal State San Bernardino’s work with the school districts “was going to make a massive difference to the families in our region.”
Sharon Brown-Welty, the new dean of the Palm Desert Campus, praised the Coachella Valley for its foresight into advancing education.
“This community has an amazing output and support for education,” she said.
The agreement marks the eighth agreement the university has signed with school districts in San Bernardino and Riverside counties since the fall of 2013. The agreement reaffirms the university’s commitment to serve students throughout the Inland Empire, Morales said.