[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 22
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]

Ford Roosevelt, CEO of Project GRAD, partners with CSUN and LAUSD to help high school students succeed in math. Photo courtesy of Ford Roosevelt.

According to recent studies on college dropouts, approximately 70 percent of Americans enroll at a four-year institution of higher education, but less than 50 percent will graduate. In fall 2016, the California State University system launched Graduation Initiative 2025, a statewide and systemwide, ambitious benchmark that aims to increase graduation rates for CSU transfer students and first-time freshmen.

Targeting first-time freshmen, the California State University, Northridge Michael D. Eisner College of Education joined forces this year with Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) Los Angeles, a locally based nonprofit that has worked to foster greater education equity since 1999. The CSUN-Project GRAD partners aim to build a communication pipeline of sorts — a two-way pipeline — between high school teachers and university professors. The organizers behind the new initiative unveiled in spring 2013 a one-of-a-kind in California, fourth-year math course — Transition to College Math and Statistics (TCMS) — to prepare LA high school seniors for college-level math.

Project GRAD Los Angeles President and CEO Ford Roosevelt explained that lack of academic readiness leads many first-time freshmen to be unprepared for college-level math and English classes — forcing many into remediation classes, after they score low on the CSU English Placement Test and the Entry Level Mathematics exam between high school graduation and the start of freshman year.

“If high school students take remediation courses and don’t do well, their life in college is at risk,” Roosevelt said.

According to Project GRAD, more that 60 percent of high school seniors in the northeast San Fernando Valley place into remediation classes in math, English or both after taking the placement exams for the CSU system. If the students don’t pass their remediation courses within the first year, they are “stopped out” of the CSU and must attend community college to catch up. Only then may they return to the four-year university, which creates a major obstacle for many students, Roosevelt said.

“If we intervened earlier and trained [high school] teachers to have a course that would teach a little bit differently the critical thinking skills students need when they take the [placement] tests, they might do better,” he said.

Easing the Transition to College-Level Math

In 2013, in collaboration with LAUSD, CSUN and Project GRAD, the partners tested a 10-week pilot course for the TCMS course. The partners found that seniors who took the course achieved a 37 percent passage rate on the placement tests, compared to a 22 percent passage rate for those who did not.

“From that point, the course was expanded into a full-year course, approved by the CSU and [University of California] to satisfy a ‘C’ requirement of the ‘A to G’ course requirements,” Roosevelt said. “In the most recent academic year, the third year of full implementation in seven LAUSD schools, the success rate has risen to 61 percent of students needing either none or one remediation course only. Students may complete this required course in the summer before they enroll at CSUN. The district has reached out because they liked the results and now would like to roll this out at all LAUSD high schools — 160 [schools] in the next two years.”

So far, the optional math courses are available at seven high schools: San Fernando High School; Arleta High School; Sylmar High School; the Academy of Scientific Exploration, the Arts Theater Entertainment School and the Teacher Prep Academy at Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academies; and at the Los Angeles Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles.

“CSUN is the lead agency training the teachers. It’s a pretty big deal and can really change the conversation of what kids need to do to get ready and go right into college-level math,” Roosevelt said. “There’s a lot on the table, but CSUN — and particularly professor Katherine Stevenson — have been amazing partners to help make things come to fruition.”

The 23-university CSU system spends about $90 million a year on remediation courses — an amount CSUN and Project GRAD are now trying to re-allocate into college-level instruction courses at LA high schools.

“There is a lack of communication between different segments — high schools, community colleges, CSUs and UCs,” said Katherine Stevenson, professor of mathematics and director of Developmental Mathematics at CSUN. “If there is no communication and if we don’t understand what the different expectations are, then it seems like we have actually built a gap in our system. If you want high school teachers to listen to college teachers — and college teachers to listen to high school teachers — the only way you can achieve that is to have an authentic task that everybody is engaged in.

“We have an interest in having students arrive [at the university] and not need to have developmental math (remediation courses),” Stevenson said. “That is what we’re going to be looking at as our gold standard. Hopefully, [students] place into college-level mathematics and quantitative reasoning courses, and they are successful in those classes — that’s the absolute goal.”

Beyond Math: Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Roosevelt said the initiative soon will target a similar preparation course for English and involve local community colleges in the partnership.

“We bring together CSUN’s best faculty to collaborate on best practices in teaching and professional development for the high school teachers, and to create a cross-level dialog between college instructors and high school instructors — to learn from each other,” he said.

Another target for the professors and other educators involved is the range of social and emotional issues students face while taking remedial college courses, such as self-doubt and the uncertainty of belonging.

“Every student who comes to the CSU and certainly to CSUN is capable of getting through their developmental math requirements,” Stevenson said. “The [test scores] don’t indicate if they belong to the university. The students belong here — and their grades just give them information for their next step. We’ve been working very hard on making that explicit [to them].”

The partnership with Project GRAD developed independently from the CSU 2025 Graduation Initiative, but it will be a major step toward higher graduation rates, according to Michael Spagna, dean of the Eisner College.

“CSUN has had a long-term commitment to building partnerships with local schools in the community,” Spagna said. “It is through these partnerships that the university promotes student success, emphasizing college preparedness and career readiness before individuals ever make the decision to come to our campus to pursue their dreams.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Bobbi Jean and her husband Jim Bell, whose OutWest clothing store and popular TV concert series celebrated all things Western and equestrian and helped revitalize Old Town Newhall over the past decade, will soon ride east into the sunrise: They’re moving to New Mexico.
OutWest’s Jim and Bobbi Jean Bell Ride East Into the Sunrise
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a sexual assault suspect was arrested Thursday night. Plus, some great weekend events. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 20, 2017
Forever Fit SCV, a Santa Clarita sports and personal fitness training company, will host a "Pumpkin Workout" at its Centre Pointe location on Saturday, October 28, starting at 9 a.m.
Oct. 25: Pumpkin Workout Benefits American Cancer Society
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Hart School District Governing Board Meeting
The LA County Public Defender has won the Silver Eagle Award for its Public Defender Jail Liaison Program during the 31st Annual Productivity and Quality Awards Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
LA County Public Defender Soars with Silver Eagle Award
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Los Angeles Basin on Monday, October 23 through Tuesday, October 24.
Heat Alert for SCV, L.A. County on Monday, Tuesday
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has received three major gifts toward the creation of the museum in Los Angeles, bringing fundraising to more than $300M, nearly 80 percent of its $388M campaign goal.
Motion Picture Museum Nears $388M Campaign Goal
Caltrans added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned, thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1), the transportation funding and reform package passed in April.
Nearly $3.4 Billion in Transportation Projects to Be Accelerated
The city of Santa Clarita and SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc. invite the public to attend a special ceremony unveiling the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Wednesday, November 8 starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 8: City Unveils Fallen Warriors Monument in Newhall
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station along with Los Angeles County Probation Department officers conducted probation compliance searches Friday throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Deputies Check Probationers, Aid in Domestic Violence Call
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's public safety report for Canyon Country (West), aka Zone 7, for October 2 through October 8, 2017
Crime Blotter: Robbery, Grand Theft in Canyon Country West
A suspect has been arrested in the investigation of an alleged sexual assault, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials.
Suspect Arrested in Alleged Sexual Assault
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States and a concern the California Highway Patrol addresses with its "Start Smart" program.
CHP Helps New Drivers with ‘Start Smart’ Classes
The California High-Speed Rail Authority punted one of the most important decisions during its monthly meeting Thursday, stoking concerns the entity is not moving quickly enough on the $64 billion project.
California’s Bullet Train Board Delays Award of Key Contract
An extensive investigation by the county of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs in conjunction with the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has resulted in a lawsuit announced today by the Attorney General against retailer Curacao.
AG Sues Retailer Curacao for Allegedly Preying on Consumers
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]
CHESTERFIELD, MO — NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential design-build firm, recently teamed up with Logix Federal Credit Union to work on a large scale facility project, a new corporate headquarters building for the full-service credit union in the Burbank, California area.
Valencia Will Soon be Home to Logix Federal Credit Union Headquarters
The CSUN women's volleyball team (10-9, 4-3 Big West) opens the second half of the Big West season this week as the Matadors head up the coast this week for road tests at No. 23 Cal Poly (17-2, 7-0 Big West) and UC Santa Barbara (4-15, 3-4 Big West). CSUN, coming off a tough five-set loss to Hawai'i at home, is 3-4 in seven road matches this season but has won two of three Big West road contests.
Matadors Volleyball Testing Their Skills on the Road
No. 5 College of the Canyons defeated L.A. Mission College 3-0 on Wednesday to earn its eighth consecutive match and fifth straight sweep. Set scores were 25-15, 25-11, and 25-20.
Cougars Volleyball Earns Fifth Straight Sweep
CSUN Women's Soccer (7-4-5, 3-1-1 BWC) looks to move up in the Big West standings this week as it hosts UC Irvine on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Matadors Get Ready for Big West Matchups
Behind Julio Rubio's goal in the 11th minute CSUN defeated UC Riverside 1-0 in Big West Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night.
Matadors Lone Goal Enough to Hold Off UC Riverside
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
Matadors Student-Athletes Welcome New Training Facility
Want unique gifts and a shopping experience unlike any other?
Nov. 18-19: City’s Annual Two-Day Fine Craft Show
City officials gathered Wednesday for the Grand Opening of "Three Oaks," the first 100 percent affordable family development in Santa Clarita.
Affordable Housing Comes to Santa Clarita
The Gibbon Conservation Center will celebrate Halloween for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 28: Gibbon Conservation Center Celebrates First Halloween
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Oct. 23: CSUN Workshop; Succeeding in Entertainment Industry
Spotlight Arts Center, a local non-profit that provides free performing and visual arts classes to children in the Santa Clarita Valley, will hold its Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Oct. 22: Fall Festival Spotlight Arts Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all players, coaches and cheerleaders associated with a Santa Clarita Valley youth sports league or cheer organization to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Oct. 21: SCV Youth Teams Invited to Free COC Football Game
College of the Canyons freshmen Joanna Roecker and Cassandra Lee both turned in scores of 79 to lead the Cougars to a second place team finish at the Western State Conference (WSC) event hosted by Glendale College at Brookside Golf Course on Monday.
COC Falls Short at WSC Glendale
Beginning Monday, October 23, 2017, the city of Santa Clarita will increase the frequency of street sweeping throughout all areas of the City.
Oct. 23: City Begins Increased Street Sweeping Frequency
In a battle for Western State Conference, East Division supremacy, it was College of the Canyons that came out on top Tuesday night, as the Cougars scored two second half goals to secure a 2-0 win against visiting Antelope Valley College. Justine Hoeft and Jennifer Roney collected goals for the Cougars (11-2, 2-0).
COC Secures Win Against AVC With Two Second-Half Goals
The upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Buckweed Fires offers Santa Clarita residents a reminder of the ever-present fire danger in Los Angeles County, as blazes ravage the northern half of the state, as well.
Officials Reflect on 10-Year Anniversary of Buckweed Fires
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, with help from a Smartphone GPS system, were able to locate a lost hiker Wednesday night at Towsley Canyon.
Smartphone GPS Locates Lost Towsley Canyon Hiker