New policy gives students the opportunity to reach academic and career goals


Annika Houck, Copy Editor

In the past it was not uncommon for some Burroughs students to take courses at Cerro Coso Community College before graduation, but it was just this summer that the school board decided to award both high school and college credit for passing such classes. Now the doors are open to all students who are looking to take advantage of such an opportunity through a concurrent enrollment partnership.

“Over the last several years it has been exciting to observe the growth in opportunities for students to accelerate their learning through high school and college partnerships,” said SSUSD Superintendent Dr. Dave Ostash. “As we deepen our partnership with Cerro Coso, some students will really appreciate the acceleration and enrichment that concurrent enrollment can offer.”

When a student is concurrently enrolled, that student is enrolled in a college course taken outside of the normal school day and will be earning credit for both high school and college. Burroughs requirements for graduation can be filled at the same time many college requirements are, allowing students to check two boxes at once. It is an opportunity that can open many doors for all types of students. 

“Every day that passes teaches me that student needs, talents, learning modes and desires vary significantly. The best thing we can do is offer a breadth of opportunities for our students to allow them to flourish based on their personal needs,” said SSUSD School Board Member Bill Farris.

 This option is especially advantageous because concurrent enrollment is most simply described as “free college,” according to the Cerro Coso Dean of Instruction Chad Houck. While enrolled at Burroughs, students will not need to pay tuition for any classes taken at Cerro Coso. 

To take a class concurrently, a student must maintain a full schedule, the specific number of classes needed depending on grade level, and have good standing, or at least a 2.5 GPA. All Burroughs students have the option to take college classes, and it is an opportunity with many benefits. 

Students intending to attend Cerro Coso after high school could get ahead and finish much of their first year, even potentially graduate high school with an associate’s degree already under their belt. Students aspiring to university after high school will find that college courses taken in high school will look very appealing on a college application.

“Including a transcript from Cerro Coso in an application packet demonstrates that a student has already been successful in college-level courses and is therefore more likely to be successful in more college courses,” said Houck.

Students headed toward a university typically follow the A-G track, and luckily, college courses will fulfill those requirements and in half the time it would normally take. One college class is only one semester long and earns a whole semester’s worth of college credit, the equivalent of one year at Burroughs. 

“I am planning on taking courses this year” said BHS junior Lesly Hernandez.  “I was hoping to take a math subject so I can get ahead another year.” She is one of many students hoping to use this opportunity to get ahead and get a taste of college. 

Junior Abbey Hilliker has already begun her college education early. She is enrolled in an art class this semester and does not plan to stop there. 

“I have found that college is way more helpful to my learning type and is not as stressful as taking an AP class,” said Hilliker. “Plus, you have a better chance at passing the college course than getting a 5 on the AP exam, so why stress yourself?” 

While students are not able to earn dual or concurrent credit for courses taken during their freshman year, college credit can still be earned and courses can still be taken for free. Freshman Keith Foshee has also already started college and is excited to continue.

Enrolled in an essential college course, “Becoming a Successful Online Student,” Foshee is optimistic about his college experience in future semesters. 

“This is definitely going to help even with our current distance-learning situation,” said Foshee. “For the next semester, I plan on taking a Psychology 101 course because after high school I want to pursue a career in psychiatry [or another] medical field.”

Foshee points out that taking “basic” or general-education college courses while in high school will ensure that students can focus on courses specific to their major and chosen path of study, which in the end saves time and money.

“Attending college or university has become disproportionately expensive compared to years past, and concurrent enrollment can really mitigate some of these higher costs,” said Ostash, confirming Foshee’s point.

Some students may be worried that they’re not ready for college work, that it is too hard and would take too much time, but often this is not the case, as Hilliker points out. 

“I find that taking a college course is a lot different from high school courses, and I like it 100 percent more,” said Hilliker. “I enjoy the flexibility and independence in the work and how all of the assignments for the semester are posted so you can get an idea of how to schedule and manage studying.”

Junior Avery Vigneault has found this to be true as well.

“I definitely think it is nice to have a college course so that I can have extra experience, also to further my knowledge and experience what a college class is actually like,” said Vigneault. “The college credit and high school credit make it very appealing to me.”

All Burroughs students now have access to free college, an opportunity that offers many benefits and promises a valuable experience.

“If I had known about this option earlier in high school I would have jumped at the chance,” said Hilliker. “I am encouraging every student to take college classes, because it’s a great experience to have now and prepare you for the future.”