COC, Hart considering collaborative opportunities at Castaic High School

A rendering of the Castaic High School site. Courtesy of the Hart District

Preparing for the opening of Castaic High School in the fall of 2019, the school district is considering offering a program to allow students to earn both high school and college credit, following a model currently implemented at Academy of the Canyons (AOC).

The potential academic opportunity is expected to be discussed at a joint meeting of the Hart Governing Board and the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees College of the Canyons (COC), Wednesday.

According to the agenda item, instructional leaders at both districts have been meeting for several months to create a vision for the “Canyons North Academy,” a working name given to the proposed academy on Castaic High School’s campus.

At the Canyons North Academy, students will study a curriculum fully-integrated with COC that allows them to complete at least one year of college credit when they graduate high school.  It will also provide opportunities for students to gain college credits toward an associate degree or for UC/USC transfer.

The Canyons North Academy, and Castaic High School, is also expected to include Career Pathways in allied health professions, computer science and technology and law and public safety.

“Specific areas will be evaluated based on input from perspective parents in Castaic and other parts of Santa Clarita Valley through a survey that is expected to be administered in October,” the agenda item read.

The districts are expected to receive input during the next 10 months to refine the program and begin marketing it before the opening of the school.


During the joint meeting Governing Board members are also expected to hear about an annual update on the programs and partnerships at AOC from COC Deputy Chancellor Barry Gribbons and AOC Principal Pete Getz.

AOC serves 400 Hart District students each year by providing them with concurrent enrollment at both the high school and college level.

For the class of 2017, 72 of the high school’s 100 graduates received associate degrees, 70 percent were admitted into four-year universities and 28 percent enrolled in COC.

According to the agenda item, the AOC students are the highest performing sub-group on the COC campus based on retention rates and classroom success.

Career Education

The two districts also work together throughout the year to provide Career Technical Education (CTE) to high school students throughout the Hart District.

Mariane Doyle, director of CTE, and Jerry Buckley, assistant superintendent/vice president of instruction, are expected to discuss the CTE collaboration between the districts during the meeting as well.

Supported by the California Career Pathways Trust Grant, the Doing What Matters initiative and collaborative events, the CTE program offers refined career pathways, afterschool programs and workforce preparation to students.

COC’s Career Education program also provides students with pathways for success in high-skilled, high-demand and high-paying jobs.

This partnership also includes career coaches to help students make informed decisions about their career and educational plans, and prepare students for success in post-secondary education and training.

In 2012, COC and Hart created the Career Coach Program which is funded by the California Career Pathways Trust Grant and the Hart District’s College and Career Readiness Block Grant.

With this program, COC provides career coach services at seven Hart District schools for 20 hours per week that helps students develop individual college and career plans.

A presentation from Kari Soffa, COC’s director of outreach and school relations and adult reentry, is expected to give a presentation on the history of the program, career coaching process, performance measures and success stories during Wednesday’s meeting.

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