East County Herald column

Partnering for a better educational pathway in East County

By Cindy L. Miles, Ph. D.

Chancellor, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

and Ralf Swenson,

Superintendent, Grossmont Union High School District


A monumental shift is occurring in East County education. Maybe you can’t see or feel it yet, but it’s happening, and it’s going to have a profound effect on the way that students in our East County high schools are prepared for college and the workforce.

The East County Education Alliance was formed last October as a partnership between the Grossmont Union High School District and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to transform education in East County. The Alliance has the vision of “Creating pathways to a world-class education and successful career for every East County student.”

Since the initial meeting of the Alliance, educators from both of our districts have been meeting and planning to make its goals come to fruition. They will be reporting on their progress at a joint meeting of the high school and college district’s Governing Boards at 4 p.m. May 19 in the Cuyamaca College Student Center.

The goals of the Alliance include

Fostering collaboration between the high school and college districts to align curriculum that provides a seamless transition from high school to college
Increasing the number of students who graduate from high school well-prepared to enter and succeed in college
Inspiring students to focus on college and careers
Improving college completion rates and preparing students for an ever-evolving workforce.

We formed the Alliance because we have found that too few students are getting the training they need to be prepared for college or a career. Three-quarters of the students who enter community college need remedial classes before they can take college-level courses.  

An increasing number of jobs require more than a high school diploma. By 2018, 60 percent of job openings will require a college degree, while college graduates earn more than twice as much as those who didn’t graduate from high school.

The Alliance is an acknowledgment that both of our districts serve the same students, just at different points in their lives. A high school student who is taught the English or math lessons they need to know in college will do better in their college classes. A high school student (and his or her parents) who have gotten information about their college or career options will make better choices when deciding what they want to do when they graduate.

Through the Alliance, we want to encourage more high school students to take college classes while they are still in high school, a strategy that has been proven to increase high school completion as well as college-going rates. And we want to raise funds for scholarships that would be used for students who sign a commitment to reach certain college readiness goals while in high school.

To help spread the word about the exciting work being done in the Alliance, we created a website at www.eastcountyeducationalliance.org. We encourage you to visit the website, watch the video that explains why this venture is so important for East County, and read a bit about the Alliance.

The Alliance is our most intense effort to partner between the high school and college district, but it is building on our long history of partnerships. For example, each year thousands of students and parents visit Got Plans!, the college fair held annually at either Grossmont or Cuyamaca college. The Grossmont Middle College High School, located on the Grossmont College campus, allows high school students to attend college classes – and some even finish up with an associate degree at the same time they earn their high school diploma

We’re looking forward to forming greater collaboration through the Alliance.  We urge you to attend the joint board meeting on May 19, and we encourage you to support this important initiative that will benefit East County students for generations to come.  If you’d like to receive e-mailed updates about the Alliance, please contact Anne Krueger at anne.krueger@gcccd.edu. 

​​​Dr. Cindy Miles 

April 30, 2015