McFarland High School Students on a Pathway to Graduate with College Degrees

Students at McFarland High School get the opportunity to work ahead by enrolling in college level courses along side their regular classes
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 01, 2024
  • Video shows a tour of McFarland High School's career pathway programs and the passion that students in those courses have.
  • Sonya Christian, California Community College Chancellor visited the school and spoke with students to get a better understanding of how the program have assisted them academically.

The McFarland High School Early College program has been in effect for the past six years. Enrolling freshman students into various college level classes while still in high school. It's because of their high success rate that the school received a very special visit.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Sonya Christian spent Friday morning speaking with students from McFarland High school part of the Dual enrollment program.

Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviews California Community Colleges Chancellor Sonya Christian

The school was recently titled as the 2022-23 Exemplary Dual Enrollment School by the California Department of Education. Christian says after seeing the progress made by students and staff she wanted to come see it.

"We want to scale the McFarland model to the entire state of California and what is happening here is remarkable,” said Christian. “Let me start with the leadership, there is a commitment from the superintendent to the vice principle of McFarland high."

Vice principle Dario Diaz says there are currently 951 students enrolled and out of them — 648 of them are in the dual enrollment program, that's 68% of students who are earning college credits while still in high school. However Diaz says this isn't the only upside to the program.

"If you get your AA from McFarland, you can potentially save 7,000 of fees and books,” said Diaz. “Number two, it helps the families not have to drive, have their kids drive to BC or other community colleges, and third it provides what I think is access to different opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise had."

Diaz says the program is more than just that — its a system that brings the community colleges right to students front doors.

"It has taught me like what I could do, what I’m going to have to do, in the future for my career, like the different things that I’m going to have to do - responsibilities and duties,” High school senior Angelina Manzo.

Manzo is enrolled in the public health career pathway. Manzo says she's been able to learn how to preform CPR, the common health issues in Kern County along with possible treatments, and child development all before she's graduated and is extremely grateful to have that head start.

Diaz says the dual enrollment program is perfect for a city like McFarland since it doesn’t only benefit the students but their families as well.

"Many of these families they don't know what it is to have higher education,” said Diaz. “Many of them come from just the fields or farm labors so when their child is part of a dual enrollment program it makes all the difference, it causes them to get excited about what they can potentially be."

212 seniors are set to graduate this year and out of that — 53 of them will be graduating with their associates degrees. Those who don't earn it have the opportunity to enroll at Bakersfield college for another year free of charge.

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