The Santa Monica-Malibu school district and Santa Monica College have worked together for years on a variety of education initiatives, but the partnership will enter unusual territory Thursday night when the two governing boards hold a joint meeting.

College readiness and dual enrollment are among the topics for discussion at the meeting, which will be held in public at SMMUSD headquarters.

District and community college officials view the collaboration as advancing their goals of improving equity and access for students.

For SMMUSD, which is striving to reduce the achievement gaps that persist along racial and socioeconomic lines, the ongoing alliance is seen as a way to help more students pursue educational opportunities beyond high school.

For SMC, the relationship is a means of bringing “even more SMMUSD students into the higher education pipeline,” Rob Rader, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “We also want to enhance the work we have already begun to address what is a priority to both our institutions – increased access and success for all our students, especially historically underrepresented students.”

Board members will aim to map out specific progress checks for the programs established through the coalition.

“These data-driven benchmarks will help both SMMUSD and SMC provide the necessary curriculum, support, and resources to ensure all SMMUSD students have access to and will succeed in higher education,” a district report reads.

The joint meeting will build on an existing collection of programs involving the district and the college.

Following a 2007 agreement, the Young Collegians program was established to help Santa Monica High School students earn college credits. The initiative, which started with 15 participants, had 64 this past summer, according to an SMC press release.

Earlier this year, the SMC board waived enrollment fees for high school students.

In June, the SMMUSD board approved an agreement between the district and the college to establish the Santa Monica Preschool Collaborative, which was designed to teach and care for young children at John Adams Child Development Center and Washington West Preschool while introducing older students to possible careers in childhood development.

This fall, SMC is offering graphic design and computer science classes at Samohi through the LA HI-TECH grant, which aims to encourage students to pursue careers in the tech industry.

“We are thrilled to have a collaborative partnership with SMC, which benefits all students in our community,” SMMUSD board president Laurie Lieberman said in a release. “SMMUSD students are fortunate to have such a wonderful institution of higher learning close by to attend concurrently and after graduation.”

SMMUSD headquarters are located at 1651 16th St., in Santa Monica. The public meeting, which is also expected to touch on the results of new state standardized tests, is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the joint meeting, contact Sarah Wahrenbrock (swahrenbrock@smmusd.org) or Lisa Rose (rose_lisa@smc.edu).

jeff@www.smdp.com

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