Mt. SAC Goes Back to High School


Keith Birmingham

Mt. SAC President Dr. William Sroggins speaks as the West Covina Unified School District partnering with Mt. SAC to create the Mt. SAC Early College Academy, a small high school with a four-year college preparatory educational program designed to fulfill the A-G UC requirements in West Covina, Calif., on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Mt. SAC Early College Academy is a new public high school in West Covina Unified School District that was created in partnership with Mt. San Antonio College.

The academy will offer a dual enrollment program for students to not only receive their high school diplomas, but possibly earn an associate degree by the time they graduate high school.

The decision to push through with the creation of the high school for the Fall of 2018 was approved by the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees on March 14, despite concerns from faculty and students.

Martin Ramey, Academic Senate President addressed his worries, as well as the other members of the Senate’s Executive Board in a letter sent to President William Scroggins last year. The Board was concerned with the “conscious disregard of College policies in favor of promoting high school classes and students over Mt. SAC classes and students.”

“I think the [Academic] Senate has always been concerned about if we’re going to do Dual Enrollment, it is done with quality so that it benefits students,” Ramey said. “It’s in their best interest. If you don’t give assessments and you put students into courses that they can succeed in and are doing what’s in their best interest.”

In response, Scroggins said that there was no conscious disregard of college policies. Rather, there were “incomplete messages between units that utilize different terminology can lead to following a policy that is correct in some situations but does not apply to dual enrollment.”

Mt. SAC Early College Academy will allow high school students to enroll in college courses as early as the ninth grade and complete more college courses in a four-year period than allowed in a traditional dual enrollment program, which usually limits students to take no more than two college courses per semester in the 11th and 12th grades.

“We’ve also been discussing with the administration ways of ensuring that we maintain the quality of instruction and givethe students a real college course.” Ramey said. “To perhaps let them come to Mt. SAC campus in the 12th grade or in the 11th grade.”

Professors from Mt. SAC will also be teaching the college-level classes at the high school to ensure that the students of the academy will benefit from the same level of knowledge and information that college students receive.

The high school students will not be charged tuition and textbook fees according to the MOU between Mt. SAC and West Covina Unified School District.

Mt. SAC Early College Academy is set to open its doors at the former Rio Hondo Academy campus at 2226 East Rio Verde Drive in August with its first batch of 100 students. The application period started last week, March 19 and will end on May 4.