Tuolumne County Office of Education
Ensuring that all students are prepared for careers, college and life is a tall order for our nation’s high schools. In Tuolumne County, a collaborative effort between Sonora Union High School District and a local community college is creating pathways to a better future through a program that enables high school students to take college-level classes.
No longer a benefit reserved only for college-bound students seeking more challenging classes, dual enrollment programs offer all students an opportunity to improve their odds of graduating high school and finding post-secondary success.
Developed in 2008, the Middle College program grew out of a desire to offer an alternative to traditional high school for students who were under-challenged in school, wanted a more mature learning environment, were credit deficient or wanted more of an academic challenge.
“We’re opening pathways for students to access college while in high school, to begin their journey to a college experience,” said Margie Bulkin, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools.
The program has grown in popularity over the years as it prepares juniors and seniors for their post-secondary goals, whether that involves a career or college. Students work very closely with guidance counselors at both their high school and at Columbia College, a local community college, to make sure they stay on track.
Students in the program are required to take two classes at Sonora High School, then can take additional classes for no cost at Columbia College. More than 250 students have taken Middle College courses since the program’s inception.