Fresno Unified expanding program that gives high school students an edge in college

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is in the process of undergoing a major expansion of a program that helps high school students get college credit.

The school district said it's already trying to expand career technical education opportunities for their students, and now officials said they're taking it a step further. By the end of this year, hundreds of students will be able to take classes while also getting credit for a course at Fresno City College.

Students at Duncan Polytechnical High School advance their skills as they learn the basics of welding. They're taking advantage of the new program that's offered as a pathway at the vocational-focused high school.

"Last year, they had us take a one-week course on welding wire welding," junior Sebastian Harguess said. "I really enjoyed it. I thought I was good at it. It's very lucrative, too, so I decided why not join welding."

Harguess is not only focused on his career but he's also earning a college credit by taking the course. The class as well as several other courses at Duncan, including construction and auto mechanics, has the same textbooks, same curriculum and even the same tests as the welding, construction and auto courses at Fresno City College.

Fresno Unified just signed a new partnership agreement with State Center Community College District to expand dual enrollment opportunities for students at every high school in the district. Last year, the district offered only five dual enrollment classes.

"By the end of our 2016-17 school year, we will be at all of our high schools in our district and we'll offer 44 different sections students can enroll in for dual enrollment," said Kristen Boroski with Fresno Unified College and Career Readiness.

Fresno Unified said AB288 is helping back up their expansion. The law requires public schools to provide better transitions for students between high school and college.

"It's definitely about giving kids different opportunities that they normally wouldn't have so that they understand the rigor of a college course so that they're better prepared to succeed in post-secondary training," Boroski explained.

Students said they're excited about the new opportunities.

"I think it's very cool," student Corey Heyman said. "And everyone should take advantage of that everybody taking the class, and I definitely will."
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