After a hiatus of more than a decade, the College of San Mateo will again offer classes in Half Moon Bay beginning in January. In partnership with the Cabrillo Unified School District, the college will offer courses at Half Moon Bay High School, Pilarcitos High School and La Costa Adult School as part of its dual enrollment program.

Next year will not only mark the return of CSM to the coast, but is also the college’s 100th anniversary. Coastside resident Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, who became the 10th president of the college last July, promises a strong vision for the next century emphasizing equity and access for underserved student populations who, due to economic and social constraints, have not traditionally considered college a viable pathway. By bringing college-level classes to the high school campuses, Taylor-Mendoza hopes these students will discover their potential and the value of a college education while earning credits at no cost.

The dual enrollment program represents one piece of a broader effort to connect first-generation college students to successful college experiences leading to employment at a livable wage.

The college’s Promise Scholars program offers support for qualified students who enroll full time. The program provides free tuition for two to three years, with additional financial support for textbooks, food and transportation, and personalized academic advising and special workshops.

In addition, the college has developed a Guided Pathways Program to offer enhanced student support and present clear educational planning to help students complete their degree or certificate within three years.

The campus also plans to implement shuttle service between Half Moon Bay and the College of San Mateo to complement the limited service provided by SamTrans Route 294. Taylor-Mendoza’s team determined that lack of transportation poses a significant barrier preventing many students from attending classes on the college campus.

Credits earned in the dual enrollment program also give high school students a head start if they are admitted to a University of California or Cal State University school. By transferring community college credits students can fulfill many general education requirements through an arrangement known as the Intersegmental General Education Transfer. For impacted students this also represents a significant financial savings by reducing the number of terms they are enrolled at the university.

In the initial semester, CSM will offer dual enrollment classes in statistics and pre-calculus at Half Moon Bay High. At La Costa, a course in facilities management is expected. Students at Pilarcitos can enroll in Career and Life Planning 100, a curriculum that teaches career and life skills to help students set goals consistent with their own interests and skills.

Courses will be taught by CSM faculty or, in some cases, high school teachers whose credentials would qualify them to teach at the college level.

Taylor-Mendoza has bigger plans for the coast down the line, including the possibility of once again offering classes at a Half Moon Bay location other than the school campuses. The college previously offered classes in dedicated rooms at Shoreline Station. The Half Moon Bay “mini campus” closed in 2011 due to budget cuts, but the college is exploring alternative venues for the future.

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