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Students and parents at Crenshaw High School, as well as other local schools, have had to deal with frustrations of seniors not being able to graduate because the students did not pass the mandatory California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).
It was reported that approximately half of the graduating class at Crenshaw did not meet the CAHSEE requirements (Crenshaw Holding the Line on Exit Exam, CAHSEE has parents, students fuming, LA Sentinel, June 11, 2009).
Many students do not realize that the help that they need to pass the exam is well within their reach. Current high school students, and students who have recently finished high school but did not pass the CAHSEE exam, can obtain the help passing the exam through the CAHSEE to College Program at California community colleges.
Many teenagers are unaware of this program, according to Kelly Gilmore, who coordinates the program at West Los Angeles College. Students who do not pass the CAHSEE exam are mailed information about the program, but many of them fail to respond, and they miss their opportunity to receive free training to pass the exam. Many of those students will not take the exam and will not graduate from high school.
"These students need the service," said Gilmore. "It makes no sense for these services to go unutilized."
The program has hands on training for the English, math and test-taking skills that students need. The program lasts 10 weeks, and Gilmore says that any student that is determined will pass the exam with the program's training. Gilmore says that no student who is seeking help is turned away.
The program is also designed to help high school students stay on track to graduate and pass the exam. Gilmore has spent many hours at various high schools talking to students about applying themselves and taking the proper courses to graduate on time. There is no reason for students to fail the exam multiple times when they have access to help throughout their high school career for free.
Through the program high school students can also take college level courses. Gilmore said that he has seen students enter college as a sophomore because they took college level courses while in high school, and he's seen students receive their high school diploma and AA degree at the same time.
The program offers services for special needs students.
Gilmore is a strong advocate for the community college system and is proof that the system works for students that apply themselves. After attending Washington Prep High School, Gilmore attended Southwest College, and then transferred to Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Gilmore has been a part of many community service projects and is an asset to our community.
For more information on the CAHSEE to College program, contact Gilmore at (310) 287-4415, or contact your local community college.