What is the P-16 Council?
The Ventura County P-16 Regional Council is a group of key decision makers from education, business, parent organizations and community agencies. Addressing pre-school through college, the Council provides educational support and awareness to improve academic excellence, eliminate achievement gaps, and advance college preparation and completion for all students in Ventura County. Consequently, P-16 encompasses all public and private educational opportunities.
The Core Council membership of this continuum includes the Ventura County Office of Education, California State University Channel Islands, California Lutheran University, the Ventura County Community College District, the Ventura County Economic Development Association, First 5 Ventura County, the Boys and Girls Club, the 12th District PTA, Naval Base Ventura County, United Way of Ventura County and business CEOs. While each of these organizations have been engaged in efforts to close the achievement gap, each has also recognized the need for a cohesive method of providing opportunity and equity for students and removing any barriers to this primary goal. The P-16 also embraces an expanded membership comprised of local school districts and nearly two score organizations and businesses.
What Is The Need?
Ventura County has an extremely diverse student population, a large portion of which who have either not participated in traditional post secondary education or who are not academically prepared to enter our four-year universities. Student achievement differs by gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
It Starts with Pre-School
Children are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to become involved in crime and less likely to have unwanted pregnancies in their teens.
California ranks 5th from the bottom in all states with the percentage of children attending preschool. In Ventura County of pre-school aged children, whites are twice as likely as Latinos to be in pre-school. Less than 1 in 5 children in CA have access to quality preschool.
ALL of our Students need to Graduate High School
In 2007-08, the high school graduation rate in Ventura County was 85%, meaning nearly 1,700 students left high school without being career ready or college ready. Latino students have the highest high school dropout rate at 22.8% followed by African Americans at 21.4%. This is more than twice the dropout rate of White students (9.1%) and over 4 times the rate of Asian students (5.2%).
Students are not Prepared to Attend College
In 2007-08 only 37.9% of high school graduates completed the A-G college preparation courses, with Latinos least likely to be prepared. Latino and African American males have the lowest rate of preparation, with only 19.2% and 23.8% taking A-G coursework respectively.
Of the 9453 Ventura County public high school graduates, 33% do not attend community college or university.
The Ventura County P-16 Regional Council believes that through the collaborative efforts of our partner organizations, we can enhance the college bound rate of all student populations. However, we must intervene early and consistently with students in order to ensure future success.
Ventura’s P-16 Council is both an outgrowth and microcosm of the State’s own P-16 Council under the stewardship of the California Department of Education (http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/pc/). Similar groups in 19 other States have successfully improved student achievement in a variety of areas. Now, some three years after its initial formation, our P-16 Council is poised to migrate from planning to action mode on many fronts, including the blending of academic rigor with career technical education academies, parent outreach and support, and the synergy of our disparate resources.
Efforts to Date
Since its inception, the P-16 Council has initiated linkages between higher education entities to provide mentoring and tutoring to students in key identified high schools. It has successfully competed for grants that have begun to allow area high schools to increase the number of students taking college preparatory classes, the percentage of students taking the SAT test, and to expand the number of students participating in Early Awareness testing for college. In addition, the P-16 Council has developed a Parent Outreach strategy in the County and awarded funds to establish a high school Parent Support group in Santa Paula. And, it has encouraged effective sharing of student data to assess student progress and to identify areas for further attention.
Most recently, P-16 has supported the Engineering Design Career Pathways program at Hueneme High School. This rigorous 3-year career and technical education program prepares students for work or college upon graduation from high school.