California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

Higher education

The California State Legislature established the CAPP-California Academic Partnership Program (Outside Source) in 1984 to develop “cooperative efforts to improve the academic quality of public secondary schools with the objective of improving the preparation of all students for college.” CAPP helps communities establish academic partnerships between secondary schools and community colleges, public or private baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and business enterprises. The aim of the partnerships is to:

  • Transform the relationships between educational institutions in ways that directly benefit students.
  • Improve curriculum in subject areas required for admission to college.
  • Strengthen teachers’ capacities to enable all students to learn the curriculum.
  • Enhance the ability of students to benefit from these changes.
  • Improve postsecondary and business partners’ understanding of these students’ unique needs.

The CAPP publication, Raising Student Achievement through Effective Education Partnerships. Policy and Practice, (PDF; Outside Source, 2004) provides seven examples of successful partnerships and outlines key elements that contribute to the success of those alliances. Another publication, Getting Students Ready for College and Career (2006) (PDF; Outside Source) was developed by the Southern Regional Education Board as a resource to help school and university partnerships.

In the Spotlight

Bernice Ayer Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District, a 2005 Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model School
Staff members at Bernice Ayer take advantage of the services offered by the Professional Development Academy at California State University, Fullerton.

Empire Union Elementary School District
The district joined a partnership with California State University, Stanislaus, to offer educators a master’s degree with a concentration in middle grades. As a partner in offering the program, the district provides the following:

  • Use of district facilities free of charge for the classes
  • Staff participation in designing the courses and teaching sections of the course

Holmes International Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District, a 2007 Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model School
Staff members work closely with professors from the local universities to develop the special education program. Professors help teachers ensure that the program reflects the most effective practices based on current research.

McKinleyville Middle School, McKinleyville Union Elementary School District, a 2006 Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model School
To help young women gain an interest and skills in mathematics and science, McKinleyville participates in Expanding Your Horizons (Outside Source)—a girls career conference on mathematics and science.

Monroe Clark Middle School, San Diego Unified School District
A nine-week course offered by the Parent Institute for Quality Education teaches parents how to help their children succeed in school and apply to college. Class topics include high school course requirements for college; financial aid; scholarships; and ways to communicate with school staff about student progress. San Diego State University has agreed to help the children of the institute’s graduates during the college application process. The program has been at Monroe Clark since November 1998. Funding for the course typically comes through the CSU partnership and private contributions. Parents take the classes at no charge.1


University partnerships are extremely helpful for schools with highly gifted students who require material significantly above grade level. The Profoundly Gifted Institute (Outside Source), provides helpful information about partnerships with universities and colleges to provide challenging material for gifted students.

Another helpful resource, College: Making it Happen (Outside Source) is a booklet designed to help teachers communicate the importance of early academic and financial planning in order for middle school children to have choices after high school graduation. The booklet was developed by the California Intersegmental Coordinating Committee (Outside Source).

The KnowHow2GO (Outside Source) campaign is a joint initiative of the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation for Education, and the Ad Council. The campaign encourages eighth through tenth graders to prepare for college using four simple steps. The Website includes a virtual tour of KnowHow2GO University, tips and checklists for students, and materials for adults who are mentoring a college-bound student. Students and mentors can sign up for a monthly newsletter.


District and regional offices


1Success Stories/California, GEAR UP (Outside Source)

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