Moorpark College continues offering dual enrollment opportunities to local schools

Photo credit: Jasmine Hallack

Photo credit: Jasmine Hallack

By Jaya Roberts

In recent years, Moorpark College began partnering with local school districts to offer dual enrollment opportunities for interested middle and high school students.

Dual enrollment allows middle and high school students to enroll in college-level courses at participating colleges while still enrolled at their primary school.

California Assembly Bill 288 introduced dual enrollment to eligible schools and was enacted on Jan. 1, 2016. Dual enrollment program began being implemented for California Community Colleges in March of that year.

Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credits and get a head start on college courses, thereby setting them on a fast track to college graduation prior to graduating from middle or high school, according to the Moorpark College website.

Before enrolling for dual enrollment at Moorpark College, interested students are required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding form.

The MOU form requires dual enrollment students to abide by the college’s policies and Student Code of Conduct. The form also requires students’ acknowledgment that college credits go on a permanent record and courses are designed for adults and may contain adult materials. The MOU must be signed by both the student and their parent or guardian.

Simi Valley High School is one of the participating schools in Moorpark College’s dual enrollment program. The school’s principal, John Baxter, showcased support for dual enrollment and Simi Valley High School’s partnership with Moorpark College.

“So far it’s been amazing, the partnership and working with [Moorpark College],” Baxter said. “Our district signed what is called a College and Careers Access Pathways Agreement, which gives us a lot more communication between the two schools.”

A CCAP is an agreement between two school districts to offer dual enrollment opportunities for their students and open a line of communication between the schools.

Baxter said that many Simi Valley High School students are enrolling in college courses throughout their high school careers.

“We were one of the top schools in Ventura County for kids taking dual enrollment,” Baxter said. “So, our kids are taking advantage of it as well, they are enjoying it.”

In order to take part in dual enrollment in the Ventura County Community College District, students must submit an application, select their classes, sign the MOU form with a parent or guardian and register for their chosen classes through the MyVCCCD portal.

A full detailed account of the application process, including step by step tutorials and video guides, can be found under the dual enrollment tab on the Moorpark College website.

Moorpark College Dual Enrollment Counselor Seville Pinkard expressed that dual enrollment has proven to be very beneficial for the college as well as the participating middle and high schools.Co

Pinkard, who has specialized in dual enrollment since August 2018, is an avid supporter of the program.

“[Dual enrollment] sells itself, really,” Pinkard said. “It’s such a beneficial program — it’s beneficial for the college, it’s beneficial for the high schools, it’s beneficial for the high school students — everyone kind of wins in it.”

While dual enrollment is open to local middle school students as well, Moorpark College currently does not have any agreements with local middle schools.

The concept of a middle school student enrolled in college may be shocking to some, but according to Pinkard, school counselors and administration from both participating schools take maturity and grade level into consideration when enrolling a student in the program.

“We have different contacts at each different school, and we ask them ‘What classes do you guys want?’ and they tell us the type of courses they want. We tell them what is suitable, and what grade levels they are suitable for,” Pinkard said. “Every different high school has their own methods on how they decide which students are going to take which classes, so they will find out who is interested in classes and go from there.”

SallyAnn Roth, a Ventura County resident, educator and parent believes that dual enrollment is a valuable resource for high school students.

“I found [dual enrollment] beneficial for my own daughter, it’s even better than the AP or IB classes because AP and IB courses are very expensive and you’re basing your whole year of learning on one test, versus if you take a college course, you know that you got the college credit,” Roth said. “I just feel like it’s extremely beneficial overall.”

Seeking higher education can be a daunting task for people of all ages due to a myriad of reasons including pandemic-induced learning challenges and rising tuition costs across the nation. More and more institutions are seeing startling declines in enrollment, and this pattern begs the question of whether programs like dual enrollment will help encourage younger generations to pursue higher education.

According to Roth, as long as the participating schools are willing to provide a wide range of classes, assistance in enrollment and overall support throughout the program’s duration, students and their families do stand to benefit from participating in dual enrollment.