December 17, 2008
High School Exit Exam Help On The Way
This spring College of the Canyons, in collaboration with the William S. Hart Union High School District, will introduce a program designed to help students pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) — and ultimately move forward with their educational goals and dreams.
The result of a grant to the college worth as much as $206,000 from the state Chancellor’s Office CAHSEE preparation fund, this free program is designed to give students from the class of 2008, who have met all requirements for graduation but have not yet passed the CAHSEE, an additional opportunity to prepare for the exam in a focused, individualized and nurturing setting.
“College of the Canyons and the William S. Hart Union High School District are committed to further developing and implementing this program at the community college level,” said Jennifer Brezina, the college’s interim dean, noncredit division and community education. “This partnership will allow students the opportunity to utilize both the college and the Hart District’s educational resources to obtain the skills needed to complete their high school degrees and move forward in their lives and academic careers.”
Through a combination of coursework, workshops and intensive counseling, the college’s CAHSEE preparation program will seek to provide unique educational opportunities for students to learn basic math and English skills — while also decreasing test-taking anxiety by familiarizing students with the procedural aspects of the oftentimes intimidating examination.
Counseling services will provide students with success skills needed to progress beyond achieving high school graduate status, while also evaluating the student’s interests in order to explore post-CAHSEE options that may include continued college education, technical training and/or job and career identification.
Specific aspects of the program will address the learning needs of students who fall into one or more of the identified ‘at-risk’ student groups — special education, English learner, and economically disadvantaged students — which traditionally exhibit a lower CAHSEE passage rate. Because of the demographic complexities associated with the non-passing student groups, college officials have decided against creating an all-inclusive program with a set curriculum for every student.
“We recognize that students who fall into one or more if these three student groups will require a much more intensive assessment and more of an individualized approach to educational training in order to pass the CAHSEE,” Brezina said. “By creating a personalized path and accompanying instructor-led classroom setting, we hope to develop in students the knowledge and skills required to pass the exam and ultimately earn their diplomas.”
Under the program’s pathway plan, students will be placed on educational paths based on their assessment level and individualized needs, that will provide them with a greater focus while allowing them to chart their progress against a benchmarked standard.
Though the initial focus of the program will be to prepare students who have completed all of their graduation requirements for upcoming CAHSEE exams, students who have not completed their coursework and not passed the CAHSEE will also have the opportunity to address their coursework deficiencies at the college.
The college’s free CAHSEE program workshops, counseling and student services will be offered Monday through Thursday and Saturdays during flexible morning and evening hours throughout the Spring 2009 semester, which begins February 9, 2009.
The College of the Canyons Community and Continuing Education department’s staff is available to help answer any questions you may have about the college’s CAHSEE program or how you can earn your high school diploma. For more information please call (661) 362-3175 or visit www.canyons.edu/CAHSEE
December 5, 2008
Emeritus Choir to Perform at Mint Canyon Elementary School
With some help from Mint Canyon Elementary students, the College of the Canyons Emeritus Choir will perform a special holiday music concert at the Canyon Country school on December 12.
“It’s a unique opportunity to see the two choirs in this joint performance,” said Jennifer Brezina, the interim dean of noncredit division and community education at the college. “I’m so pleased that the Emeritus College program is able to be a part of bringing these two generations together.”
The concert was organized by Emeritus Choir member Sheri Klein—a former Mint Canyon principal—and the school’s choir director, Linda Hitsman.
“I picked two holiday songs that would be appropriate for both groups,” said Julie Lawson, the Emeritus Choir instructor. “Linda taught the young students their part, and we will combine on these two numbers. Some of the Mint Canyon students will accompany us on a variety of percussion instruments.”
The choir is offered through the college's Emeritus College, a community education program that began in 2005. The program was created to develop noncredit programs to benefit the local community, at no cost.
“Our choir continues to expand and the level continues to improve,” said Lawson. “It is a joy for me to work with so many dedicated singers from the Santa Clarita community who appreciate having this artistic outlet.”
The choir will also be performing at the Newhall Senior Center on Market Street at 11:30 a.m. on December 12. The concert is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact the college’s community education program at (661) 362-3300.