Race To Ready

“It's time to stop just talking about education reform and start actually doing it. It’s time to make education America’s national mission.”
President Barack Obama, November 4, 2009

In 2009, President Obama’s Race to the Top ushered in significant change in our education system, particularly in raising standards and aligning policies and structures to the goal of college and career readiness. In response, the Race to Ready effort by the Riverside County Educational Collaborative (RCEC) is an asserted effort to align our K-12 and higher education systems with success strategies that will insure greater college and career readiness among our students graduating from our high schools.

Here is what our higher educational partners are doing in our educational collaborative:


UC Riverside
Race To Ready Model

A college education is well within every Riverside County student’s reach, and UC Riverside works to make that reach even more attainable. We partner with the RCEC’s Race to Ready program by actively participating with prospective students, staying connected with high school counselors, and providing on-going support to help enrolled students transition and thrive as UCR Highlanders.

  • In collaboration with the Riverside County Office of Education, UCR hosts eight half-day AP Readiness sessions for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are taking AP classes.
  • UCR Admissions Counselors make regular high school visits to show prospective students and their families how to prepare for the college experience.
  • UCR Admissions Counselors host application workshops to help students gather the necessary documentation and properly complete application forms.
  • Admissions Counselors are on campus to answer questions and offer guidance through the admissions process. (Spanish- and Chinese-speaking counselors are available upon request.)
  • Financial aid workshops teach students and parents how to maximize their opportunity to receive aid. Over eighty-five percent of UCR undergraduate students receive financial aid. Seventy percent of those who receive aid have their full fees covered by grants and/or scholarships.
  • Campus Tours, which are led by student guides, provide an opportunity for perspective students and their families to learn more about UCR and to experience the beauty of its park-like campus. For “anytime, anywhere” viewing, our virtual tours highlight key campus locations.
  • UCR’s Summer Academy program gives high school students an opportunity to fulfill one or more of their A-G requirements during the summer. They can earn college credit, meet with distinguished faculty, and gain real university experience well before their high school graduation.
  • UCR partners with high school counselors to conduct counselor workshops and in-service opportunities.
  • An electronic newsletter is sent to keep them up to date with new programs, application deadlines and upcoming events.
  • Discover Day and Highlander Day are our biggest open house events of the year. Prospective and admitted students and their guardians can tour the campus and participate in application workshops, information sessions and individual college presentations to learn what UCR has to offer.
  • With over 400 student clubs and organizations in which to get involved while attending UCR, there are plenty of opportunities for students to share their passions with other like-minded people.
  • Students who meet specific eligibility requirements can enroll in the Highlander Early Start Academy (HESA) program. Designed to challenge newly enrolled students, it provides early access to advising, campus life and resources. Participants receive a scholarship toward HESA tuition and fees, and have the opportunity to earn additional scholarships for GPAs and minimum unit registration.
  • Once a student arrives at UCR, Learning Community networks help first year students transition from high school to college. Learning Communities group like-minded students in various breadth courses so they have an instant support system and can learn together. Participating students receive extra instruction and advising support, are automatically enrolled in classes, and are invited to college-sponsored social events. Benefits include higher GPAs, faster degree completion, networking opportunities, and gained skills for success. Today, UCR is nationally recognized (even by the White House) for its student graduation rates, and has nearly equal graduation rates across all racial and ethnic groups — a rarity among colleges and universities.
  • Our robust social media platforms offer the latest news on academic achievements, rankings, team championships, student perspectives and tips to maximize the UCR experience.

To learn more about UCR’s Race to Ready efforts, contact an Admissions Counselor today.

Mt. San Jacinto College
College Ready Model

In response to “Race to Ready” philosophy to improve college and career readiness, Mt. San Jacinto College purposely partnered with our local K-12 districts to establish a comprehensive college and career readiness model that would incorporate four key elements that work in tandem with one another:

  • Early College Transition Counseling
  • Strategies to Reduce the Need for Remediation
  • Increasing College Access via Dual Enrollment Courses
  • The Transitional Program

Early College Transition Counseling

As part of an innovative program that targets high school seniors who plan on attending the community college or are involved in a disadvantaged student program, such as special education, English language learners and/or foster youth program, Mt. San Jacinto College counselors are placed on high schools to ensure high school students are ready for college by assisting students to submit their college application, complete the FAFSA process, assess their college readiness, engage in college advising, and offer long range college educational plans for high schools students prior to graduating.

Strategies to Reduce the Need for Remediation

Students needing to take developmental math and/or English courses because they are not considered ‘college ready’ are encouraged, through an agreement with MSJC and their feeder districts, to take these developmental courses in their 12th grade year. This will help to ensure college readiness, improve time to degree completion, and minimize college expenses by removing the need to take remedial courses at the community college.

Additionally, MSJC English faculty has implemented changes to their course placement to allow students to enter college level work sooner, reducing the need to take unnecessary remedial courses. The English faculty has moved to the use of multiple measures to place students in credit-earning courses. Beginning Fall 2016, several shifts will occur – Accuplacer cut score for English 101 will be reduced and two remedial English courses will be deactivated. The use of multiple measures will be expanded in Fall 2017 through use of high school GPA of 2.5 or higher for enrollment in English 101 along with a new co-requisite English 101-plus course for students scoring below the lower Accuplacer cut score and with high school GPA of 2.0-2.49.

College Access via Dual Enrollment Courses

Dual enrollment allows high school students to take Mt. San Jacinto College coursework during their high school day on the high school campus. Nearly 4,000 college seats are filled across MSJC’s college district and high school students are experiencing approximately a 90% success rate in earning college course credit. This effort has closed the achievement gap among ethnic groups while enhancing college readiness, saving college costs, improving time to degree completion, and limiting student loan debt for participating high school students.

The Transitional Program

Mt. San Jacinto College’s Transitional Program’s goal is to insure seamless transition from high school to college while providing a continuum of support that carries on after high school, particularly for disadvantaged students. Supports include such programs as the Summer Bridge Academy for first-time freshmen entering college upon graduation from high school; New Student Advising Sessions; the First-Experience Program; a mentoring program that will provide peer to peer engagement and an academic support component of supplemental instruction and tutoring.


Moreno Valley College
FasTrack to Success

Moreno Valley College has partnered with our K-12 districts, through the Riverside County Office of Education, to establish a comprehensive college and career readiness model that focuses on:

  • Increasing College Access via Middle College High School Program
  • Strategies to Reduce the Need for Remediation
  • Effective Transitional Programs for First Time College Students

Increasing College Access via Middle College High School Program

The first Middle College High School (MCHS) program at Moreno Valley College started in 1999 and for 17 years Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) and Val Verde Unified School District (VVUSD) students have benefited from the program. Through the partnership and financial support provided by MVUSD and VVUSD, Moreno Valley College has been able to expand and grow the program in recent years to offer more students the opportunity to benefit from the program. Middle College High School (MCHS) students complete their last two years of high school at Moreno Valley College, enrolled in both high school and college courses. MCHS students enroll in college courses which satisfy high school graduation requirements, “A-G” courses, or courses that are transferable or that can be applied towards an Associate Degree. Each semester students enroll in up to 11 college units and each winter and summer session they enroll in up to 5 college units. MCHS students have the opportunity to complete at least one year worth of college units or more by the end of their senior year of high school.

During the 2015-16 academic year, MCHS served 62 seniors and 92 juniors, a total of 154 students. The plan is to scale the program up in 2016-17, to serve close to 200 students. Twenty MCHS seniors will have earned an Associate Degree by the end of the spring semester or summer session. In all, MCHS seniors will have earned a total of 40 Associate Degrees by the end of summer 2016. Among the 62 MCHS seniors, 41 plan to attend a university and 19 plan to attend a community college. The seniors from Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) and Val Verde Unified School District (VVUSD) were accepted to many universities such as: UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC San Diego, CSU San Marcos, CSU San Bernardino, CSU Long Beach, CSU Sacramento, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Los Angeles, Cal Baptist University, University of New York Purchase and many more.

Strategies to Reduce the Need for Remediation

During the 2015-16 year, Moreno Valley College (MVC) hosted two educational summits, one in the fall and one in spring. The purpose of the summit is to engage faculty, staff, and administrators from MVC and high schools in our college service area to talk about student success, identifying strategies to prepare students better while meeting the needs of future students. Topics included: strategies for closing student equity achievement gaps; critical issues in English, ELL/ESL, math, and career pathways/CTE; curriculum alignment; and multiple measures and alternative placement.

As a result of the summits, MVC hosted a one day articulation training and one-stop event in April 2016. The college and school districts signed articulation agreements at the event, to document a pathway between the colleges and high school, and their academic programs. Conversations are on-going regarding dual enrollment opportunities and offering college courses in the high schools of our two local school districts.

In an effort to support students who enter higher education that are not “college ready” and to reduce the need for students taking developmental math and/or English courses in college to be considered “college ready”, Moreno Valley College English and math faculty have implemented changes to their course placement to allow students to enter college level work sooner by way of using multiple measures for placement.

This summer our college will begin using multiple measure criteria to allow placement at whichever result gives the higher placement – high school grade information or the Accuplacer results. Six questions, providing students’ self-reported information, will determine multiple measures placement. The student information is uploaded into Cal-PASS, to match students to official high school information. In cases where there are no matches, we will request grade information from the high schools directly to verify the accuracy of the self-reported information. Using data gathered from 169 students at high school visits in April and the use of the multiple measures decision rules, we saw changes that are quite dramatic for all disciplines. This effort shows great promise in closing the achievement gap among ethnic groups while enhancing college readiness, saving college costs, and improving time to degree completion.

Effective Transitional Programs for First Time College Students

Moreno Valley College has developed enhanced programs this summer to assist new students with the transition to college. Our transitional programs include: the Summer Bridge for first-time freshmen entering college upon graduation from high school, the Transition to Success (Extended Orientation) program for first-time students who are not recent graduates from our feeder high schools, and the First Year Experience (FYE) program that guarantees new students with at least 12-units (full-time status) and includes math, English, and guidance courses. The FYE program also provides peer to peer engagement, academic support/supplemental instruction, student success coaches, and community building activities throughout the year.