The Harbor Promise: Free tuition for LAUSD grads

By Salina Garcia, Staff Writer

Harbor Promise (formally known as Harbor Advantage ) is setting a clear path into the first year of college success for incoming high school graduates for students from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

This includes all nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District.

“The promise is, if we promise to pay for their first year in college, they have to promise to be as good as students as they can be.” Said Student equity coordinator, LA College Promise Campus lead, Hale Savard, who presented the LA Harbor Promise event May 9.

“The LACCD Board of Trustees committed to President Obama’s ‘America’s College Promise’ when we heard of his initiative. We are the nation’s largest community college district and proud to create a ‘Promise’ program as President Obama envisioned.” Said Scott J. Svonkin, President of the LACCD Board of Trustees stated in his recent Press Release.

“Every program across the nation that I heard of has done some sort of promise, some sort of integrated success program. Normally a student will assume they know how to work the school, but then they think that and will remain here for another 5 years. What we want to do is push our students to have quicker goals and have mentors.”

LA Harbor, including the other eight campuses in the district pairs with tens of thousands of students graduate from LAUSD schools. It requires student with summer bridge orientation. “We promise to give them their first year free if they promise to participate in the program that we think will help them succeed in there first year. And the first year is the summer bridge program and they would need to complete at least 12 units in the fall and spring of their freshman year, each if those semesters need to include math and English.”

The summer bridge is intended to prepare the incoming student for success in the course they will take in the fall. For an example “english, its like a grand canyon of a difference. A lot of our HS students, their senior year take an easy world literature…thats not exactly a necessarily vigorous course. When they come in we want them to prepare them for whatever they take in the fall.” Savard continues.

First year experience includes they have to have a summer bridge. they have to have something in summer that lets the students feel how a college semester is going to work. this summer for our incoming g promise students we have an english level up class, we have a counseling level up class, and a math level up class. the eng. and math classes do two things: #1 they give the students who are asses3d at a pre transfer level, it gives them a chance to skip up 1 level. if they test to math 115… you can take a three-week course and by the end of that theres a good chance you can asses up to the next level class.. so from 115 to 125. (student to level up)

Savard is also one of the English instructors on campus and understands first hand experience to see how students work. “that the second advantage is that there is a massive difference between a high school english class and freshman composition class. Like the grand canyon.. what we see is that many of our students our prepared for a transfer level classes in english, but english 101 is golden for transfer course meaning, those courses are looked at very seriously by all university for all students that are ready to transfer. If a student gets a C in 101, that might hurt them when they go transfer to UCLA because UCLA is looking at their overall GPA. lets say they want to transfer in as an english or humanities major. They’ll look at that eng.101 grade and may hesitate compared to another student who receives an A.

“Many students at LACCD in the past come and take 2-3 years never taking a math or english and year 3 or 4 they start to get serious, buts the old way. That’s a model we don’t want to continue with. Most likely they can get out within three years, graduate, receive a certificate, transfer a little bit quicker. ” says Savard.

Now the current LA Harbor advantage (LAHA) cohort data has an all success rate: 73 percent, which means they passed their classes their first semester. The current cohort made up of 232 students in data…

“A big indicator to students success would be something like, First year english composition success.” Listed in the cohort for fall 2014 is when LAHA started the program. The overall success rate in the data included in the overall first term. First year english success scored at 77 percent by students. By fall 2015 was the second year scored at 82 percent.

LAHA program was able to bump the overall school number up. Another good indicator was first year math success. First year, 53% then 59% which is more than double the school average. Right now we are talking about 232 students . 230 students who passed there first year of english, and math course.

Savard wants to expand this program and believes part of that, “The Promise” should provide an opportunity to recruit more students. According to Savard while presenting that day, currently LAHC has a positive recruitment of 380 students who have signed the application for Harbor promise. Meaning they’re interested, they went online, they found an application, they heard from outreach, came through our webpage.”

Harbor success means: second year in success.. change Harbor advantage to harbor promise. Harbor success titles remain. Harbor success is a cohort of students who have come through harbor promise and they want to continue their success and they want to commit to their second year success. We have a title 5 grant for this particular program, its a 5 year grant it supports councesiling. cgca’s, staffing and activities.
Students to have quicker goals. part of that is offering students that mentorship and going out there to get that job, and internship and learning in the field in what its really like so then they can turn internship into a real job.

LAHP is located in Seahawk Center in Room 204. Students can take advantage of the counselor up there, and use the seven computers to fill out any applications for, internships, they can use the printer… our goal is to get a bigger room that will facilitate the student center so students can come in, talk to a CGCA, talk to a councilor complete some homework.

A teacher in the meeting asked “If 25% percent of the students don’t qualify for the fee waiver, for example, where’s the money coming from to pay the tuition and how ?”.

Savard answered “the mayors office, Eric Garrcetti has basically done this huge fundraising campaign, I don’t want to say the exact number, i want to say 25 million was their goal… you know I think they’re not quite there yet.”

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