Exeter Unified awarded grant for getting at-risk students back on track

The grant comes as a result of high rates of students not completing the A-G courses required to be admitted to colleges

EXETER – Exeter Unified School District was awarded a grant to increase and improve services that help at-risk students meet the requirements needed to be admitted to University of California and California State University colleges. 

The district defines “at-risk” youth as students who are part of the foster system, from a low-income family, learning English or not on-track for graduating or meeting A-G requirements. A-G requirements are a sequence of high school courses that students must complete with a grade of C or better to be eligible for admission to UC or CSU colleges. 

According to a document shared at an April 20 Exeter school board meeting, 369 high school students received a “D,” “F” or “Fail” grade in one or more A-G courses during the 2020-21 school year. Data collected during that year states only 44.3% of EUSD students successfully completed their A-G courses.

These numbers prompted a team of administrators, counselors and staff to conduct an assessment identifying root causes of the issue. Results of the assessment pointed to a lack of outreach to “special populations,” a need for more understanding among students and parents about the impact of A-G courses on college readiness, a lack of alignment toward A-G requirements in current district policies and a lack of A-G preparation and education at the middle school level. The assessment also noted the district’s lack of course credit recovery and acceleration options for students. 

The district was awarded a grant of $247,667 to implement a plan for getting its at-risk students back on track to meet A-G requirements. So far, some ideas for the plan include out-of-school opportunities for A-G credit recovery and acceleration, additional counseling support, dual-enrollment and AP enrollment opportunities, the implementation of an AVID program, college visits and a review of non-A-G courses. 

Expenditures and budget figures for the plan will be shared with the school board sometime this month.

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