Local students guaranteed a pathway to two- and four-year degrees
While all cities claim to be committed to education, Santa Ana takes it one step further with the goal of lifelong learning for all residents – not just for K-12 and young adults but those considering college for the first time.
The city partners with the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), California’s seventh-largest school district, to pioneer pilot youth employment programs aimed at reducing high school dropout rates. These programs either support the workforce industries, resulting in faster reemployment of locals, or offer a direct pipeline to college education and workforce placement.
One example is Santa Ana College Promise. When parents enroll their children in the SAUSD, they receive more than just expert instruction, advanced programs, a nurturing, safe environment, state-of-the-art facilities and 21st century technology. They also inherent a direct pathway to two- and four-year college education, assuming their student sons and daughters graduate from high school – a promise guaranteed to all 50,000 District students.
When SAUSD graduates enroll at Santa Ana College (SAC) full-time, they receive free freshman-year tuition and a laptop as an incentive to earn their AA degree. The commitment continues with Santa Ana Adelante, a city-endowed program guaranteeing that all SAC AA degree-holders with an average 2.8-3.0 GPA be admitted to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), or California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).
Already, the two programs are showing students what’s possible. The number of Santa Ana students graduating from high school and two- and four-year college is up dramatically – as is the number of students graduating with both their high school diploma and associate degree simultaneously.
The SAUSD is also transforming the city into a literate community with the goal of every child reading at their grade-level by the third grade through state-of-the-art bilingual literacy programs from birth through second grade.
Under the district’s “School of Choice/Subject Matter” focus, instead of simply sending their kids to the closest school, parents can choose the school that best fits their child’s educational interests and needs. These schools can include Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), offering award-winning high school instruction in drama, film, music and other creative arts; Saddleback High School, an authorized International Bachelorette (IB) World School; the XQ Project, a national competition to design the high school of the future; and other institutions with a specific focus – whether arts, International Bachelorette accreditation or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.
Photo credit: OCSA