The inaugural Plumas-Sierra County Education Summit at Feather River College brings students, administrators and educators from FRC, Plumas Unified School District and the Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District on Aug. 12 to discuss opportunities to collaborate and serve local students. Photo by Carolyn Shipp

Education summit focuses on college and high school collaboration

Plumas and Sierra county teachers and administrators learned from the students at the inaugural Plumas-Sierra County Education Summit at Feather River College. More than 40 administrators and educators from Feather River College, Plumas Unified School District, Plumas Charter School and the Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District gathered Aug. 12 to discuss opportunities to collaborate and serve local students.

Feather River College Dean of Instruction Derek Lerch said the meeting was meant to initiate conversation between similar departments at the high school and college level and see how they can work together toward student success and college preparation.

The day entailed an introduction of programs and services offered by FRC and regional high schools. After which, the group heard from a panel of former local high school students who chose to attend FRC after graduation. The nine panelists all expressed their appreciation for their high school and Feather River College experiences.

The overall panel consensus was that Feather River College was a good choice for them. Students cited the professors, the small class sizes, the financial savings, and the advisors for reasons why they would recommend the college to any student.

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“The campus is in a great area that felt like home. The personal interaction with teachers and the small classes reminded me a lot of Chester,” said Chester High School alumni Darren Jilbert.

  After the student panel, attendees networked during lunch and shifted in to breakout groups according to their disciplines. The college math teachers were able to talk with the high school math teachers, and the high school counselors were able to talk with the college advisors, all in effort to increase collaboration and start dialogue about the needs of Plumas and Sierra students.

On the wall were three questions: How can FRC better serve local students? In what ways can high schools better prepare students to transition to post-secondary education? What challenges and barriers do students face when it comes to them considering higher education?

Throughout the event, attendees added their input to the questions, saying students struggle with finances and a lack of familiarity with the college’s campus and assistance programs, or that students need help with life skills to better prepare them for college.

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At the end of the day, collaboration groups discussed ways to work together, from inviting FRC faculty to sit in on high school meetings to having FRC counselors on high school campuses to help students with college enrollment.

Lerch said the summit just began the dialogue, but that the college and high schools are committed to continuing the collaboration in order to serve local students.