Confidence, team work, critical thinking. A group of seniors at Mariner High School in Everett say that a particular class they took this year helped them build these skills and get ready for college.
The Bridge to College transition courses in math and English language arts help prepare students for success in college-level course work and avoid costly remedial classes.
Fatima Villegas-Lizaola is a senior who is finishing up the Bridge to College English course.
“I took Bridge to College English because I found out that it would give me a head start and I would be able to be on the same academic level as other community college students,” Fatima said. “The class has taught me to be more confident and to really express my thoughts and opinions, even though they might not be the majority opinion.”
Fatima’s classmates in both math and English recommend the classes because of the skills and critical thinking abilities they’ve learned and the confidence they now have as they head to college.
Kristine Whipple, who teaches Bridge to College English at Mariner High School, explained that the class is important for developing confidence and skills for success in college.
“It’s really focused on developing skill sets, so we’re reading material, questioning material, interacting with each other, asking critical questions and trying to keep an open mind in listening to others’ ideas, and then producing some sort of response,” Whipple said.
In Bridge to College math classes, students learn the why behind the answers.
“The answer is important, but the way that it’s done is more important,” said Susan Cedar, who teaches Bridge to College math. “A student that takes the Bridge to College course is ready for their future.”
One of her students, Treyvon Wolfe, appreciates the interactivity of the class and the way it’s preparing him for what’s ahead.
“It takes what is I think the best parts of math, understanding how you can apply it to the real world, and how you can use it outside of school,” Treyvon said. “And you also get to build up some confidence that you really do need for preparation in the adult world.”
Principal Nathan DuChesne sees Bridge to College courses as an opportunity for students to move from high school courses directly into credit-bearing college classes.
“If students want to prepare themselves for postsecondary education, whether that be a job, or going into classes that require some higher level thinking skills, if they work at it and they do well in the class, then they’re going to be able to move right into a college class to get credit. That’s a great motivation to be in the class,” DuChesne said.
According to the Bridge to College program, the transition courses are available at more than 150 high schools around the state. The classes are full-credit, one-year courses taught during the school day at high schools during senior year. Students who earn a B or higher in these courses and a 2 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment can automatically enroll in college level math and English at participating Washington higher education institutions, including the state’s 34 community and technical colleges. For more information about the Bridge to College courses, visit bridgetocollegecourses.org or talk to your guidance counselor.
Thank you to the students, teachers, and administrators at Mariner High School in Everett for sharing your Bridge to College stories with us. And thank you to the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges for helping make this video possible.