Columbia Basin College officials aren't sitting idle when it comes to making sure area high school graduates are prepared when they enroll in college.
Talking with local school district superintendents, understanding new K-12 math and language arts standards and attending school board meetings are some of the steps CBC's board members are taking to foster coordination between the college and school districts.
Board members said during a meeting last week that Tri-City high schools are churning out highly-qualified students. However, some students are falling into a gap and that's limiting their ability to succeed in the future.
"My desire is to let (the districts) know we're in this together," said board Chairman David L. "Duke" Mitchell.
College officials have noted many new college students aren't prepared for college-level courses, particularly in math. That can hamper a student's ability to succeed in higher education as well as cost them financially if they have to take more courses to catch up.
Staff told the board that the Common Core State Standards in math and language arts, set to be in place K-12 schools by the end of this year, could address some of the problems. CBC President Rich Cummins said the state also is taking steps to blur the line between the last year of high school and the first one in college, smoothing the transition for students.
But some of the benchmarks for math proficiency sound nebulous, said board member Kedrich Jackson. He and Mitchell said they also worry students who meet math requirements early in high school won't keep up their knowledge of the subject before graduating.
"You can't take a year off," Jackson said.
Cummins said schools typically offer more advanced mathematics courses than they did in the past and many graduates are proficient.
"But we still get students who aren't ready, there's some other issue there," Cummins said.
Those concerns are driving the efforts to connect with area school officials to see where the college can help.
"One of the things we're going to need to do is develop some knowledge, and trust and the only way to that is to spend time together (with the districts)," Mitchell said.
-- The CBC Foundation was listed as having among the most assets and most fundraising in 2012 in a recent review of community college endowments.
The Center for Continuing Education at the University of Georgia listed the foundation No. 48 for total assets out of 850 community colleges nationwide. The foundation came in at No. 35 for money raised annually in 2012.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver