Superintendent, Assemblyman Advocate for Expanded Dual Enrollment

Friday February 23, 2024

As a longtime educator and former principal of a middle college high school on a community college campus, Sierra Sands Unified School District (SSUSD) Superintendent Dr. April Moore has witnessed firsthand the positive impact that early success in college can have on high school students. 

“Students are empowered, confident, and see themselves in a new way,” Moore said.  

One of the requests she hears most often from her community in Ridgecrest, Calif. is the desire to expand the district’s dual enrollment offerings, including an option for students to graduate high school with one or two years of college completed. 

While growing dual enrollment is a state priority, education leaders statewide say they have faced challenges doing so at traditional high schools due to current instructional minute requirements laid out in California law. 

Moore says high schools need more flexibility and she is eager to advocate for change. 

She recently partnered with Bakersfield Assemblyman Vince Fong who authored Assembly Bill 2019. The bill proposes to amend California law to mirror the instructional minute requirements currently in place for students who access dual enrollment programs through specialized high schools on college campuses known as “early college” or “middle college” high schools. 

If passed, the instructional minute requirement for high schoolers taking courses at traditional campuses would be reduced from a minimum of 240 minutes per school day to 180 minutes. This would allow students more time in their school day to access dual enrollment courses, says Carlos Rojas, Chief Governmental Relations Officer for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

SSUSD Superintendent Dr. April Moore poses with Assemblyman Vince Fong.

This is a powerful experience that we want to make available in our community and throughout California.

At its board meeting earlier this month, the SSUSD board of trustees discussed the prospect of establishing a middle college program as part of its alternative education program. The proposed program is described as a “school within a school.” 

“In order to scale up such plans, flexibility in instructional minutes is critical,” Moore said. “Students statewide would be able to earn more college credit while in high school, without having to attend a specialized early or middle college high school.”

Earning more college credits while in high school can translate to money and time saved for students and their families, something Moore herself can attest to. She took community college classes while in high school herself and was able to personally see the benefit of accelerating her education while saving money.

“In my case, I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in three and a half years rather than four,” she said.

Expanded dual enrollment opportunities in traditional high schools would also provide a critical support system for students, setting them up for early success. 

“Students are not left alone to figure out a complex system,” Moore said. “We support them in the enrollment and registration process, help them learn how to navigate the college system, and ensure they have academic support along the way.” 

Moore is grateful to Assemblymember Fong for being a champion for school districts and supporting the needed flexibility to allow for expanded offerings for students. 

“This is a powerful experience that we want to make available in our community and throughout California,” Moore said. 

SSUSD Superintendent Dr. April Moore (center) on a field trip with students.

By Robert Meszaros

By Robert Meszaros

Rob Meszaros is Director of Communications for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, where he has served since 2012. In his role, Meszaros oversees media relations, internal and external communication strategies, publications, Marcom, branding, and multi-media content creation. Before joining KCSOS, Meszaros was the PIO for CSU Bakersfield and earlier worked for seven years at The Bakersfield Californian.