Glendale Unified students find success at Glendale Community College

More students from the Glendale Unified School District are attending Glendale Community College after graduation and are thriving, according to a report from Michael Ritterbrown, the college's vice president of instructional services.
(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

More students from the Glendale Unified School District are attending Glendale Community College after graduation and are thriving, according to a report released recently by the college.

Michael Ritterbrown, the college’s vice president of instructional services, told the Glendale Unified school board during a joint meeting with the college’s board last week that Glendale Unified students were also testing into higher classes than their peers outside the district.

This past fall, 804 Glendale Unified graduates attended Glendale Community College, which represented a 4.56% increase from 2017, when 769 graduates attended, and topped the previous five-year high of 792 in 2016.

The 804 students also represent 41% of all incoming high school graduates attending the local college last fall.

However, all statistics were not necessarily positive in the report.

While Glendale High led the way in attendance again among local district schools in sending 238 students to Glendale Community College, that number marked a third straight drop from Glendale High’s best of 288 students in 2015.

“It concerns me, if I’m seeing a downward trend for Glendale [High],” college board trustee Tony Tartaglia said.

“That’s a large feeder school. I’m wondering if we’re going to look into those numbers and see what they exactly mean,” he added.

In comparison, Hoover and Clark Magnet high schools hit five-year peaks, with attendance of 203 and 172 students, respectively, while Daily added 10 students from last year to reach 32, and Crescenta Valley High remained steady with 149 students.

Concurrent education also continues to rise, according to the report.

“We define those as students who attend their high school during the day, primarily, and attend classes at Glendale Community College as well,” Ritterbrown said.

“We also have dual-enrollment students who are defined as students who attend classes at their home high school and college classes at their home high school,” he added.

The number of concurrent students was 236 during the 2014-15 school year and hit an all-time high of 451 during the 2017-18 school year.

This past fall semester, 379 Glendale Unified students took a college course, which will likely lead to a record by the end of this school year.

Glendale Unified students are also placing into higher-level math and English classes than the state average.

“We measure student preparation primarily by placement into English and math,” Ritterbrown said. “This is the baseline for our evaluation of college readiness in all general-education courses.”

Glendale Unified students entered Glendale Community College ready in math courses 69% of the time and in a college-level English course 81% of the time.

Those numbers beat California averages of 59% and 73% for math and English, respectively.

Glendale Unified’s numbers represent a meteoric rise in recent years — only 35% of district students were ready for college-level math and barely 51% were prepared for college-level English in 2014.

Ritterbrown attributed the jump to the college’s recent adoption of a multiple-measures policy, which bases placement on grades and other factors, rather than just testing.

Clark Magnet High was the district’s top-performing math and English school, with just over 80% and 90% of students attending Glendale Community College being prepared in those courses, respectively.

Graduates from Clark and Crescenta Valley highs appear to be the most ambitious, as students from those schools took 12.6 units at the local college their first semester last fall.

Glendale High students enrolled in 11.5 units, while Hoover students were at 11.2 units and Daily students enrolled in 7.8 units.

In terms of student success, 76% of Glendale Unified students passed their fall courses successfully — a C-minus in most classes — which beat the California average of 68%.

The 76% success rate is still a little off the district’s best mark of 80% in 2016.

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