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Stayin’ alive

May 27, 2006

Enrollments are down and it’s been a challenge this week just to get adequate enrollments to offer summer school classes. RTV instructor Craig Breit, my department mate, has been struggling, too.

I’ve tried recruiting high school students, first through hosting Southern California Journalism Association conferences, and most recently by sponsoring our own high school journalism competitions. But the payoff is questionable. First there is the issue that going to a UC is more important to the best high school students than getting a good start on their college careers at a community college. While high school teachers will say good things about community college, they seem to be drawn to the UC mystic, too.

And then the there is the issue of just connecting with high school programs. One of the things we’re finding with our mail-in competition is that even the U.S. mail is not reliable. Our mail may get to the campus, but there is no guarantee that the high school will get the mail to the teacher in any kind of quick and reliable way.

We were afraid we’d have to cancel our awards program for the competition –a major goal for us in even sponsoring the competitions– but most schools came through eventually. The one school that isn’t coming, is our closest neighbor Gahr High School. So three of us visited Gahr today. Good visit, but again the top students, the ones who won awards, won’t be coming to Cerritos. One walks away feeling that the friendly reception we got HAS to pay off some day, but when?

If enrollments continue to drop, and we cannot develop the needed pipelines with our local high schools, keeping our programs alive is going to be a challenge. We won’t be around to host conferences or local competitions.

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