San Fernando High School Math and Science Magnet students are hitting the books at Mission College, hoping to get a jump-start on the academic rigors of college.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, Laidlaw Transit Inc. and Mission have teamed up to create Jump Start, a program that gives district students a chance to take college-level courses and provides transportation for them to get to and from campus.
The donated transportation services open up academic opportunities to students who otherwise would be unable to get to campus, said Benny Scott, the college's dean of academic affairs.
Scott devised the program along with school board member David Tokofsky, whose district includes San Fernando and Sylmar high schools, and Irwin Rosenberg of Laidlaw.
Under the program, students spend a full day at high school then ride a school bus to Mission where they spend another two hours studying environmental science, Scott said.
During the semester-long course, students study how mankind and the environment coexist through various lectures and laboratory experiments, Scott said. In the spring semester, students from Sylmar High School Math and Science Magnet will participate in the program, he said.
Jump Start students earn college credit that they can later use to satisfy academic requirements at Mission College as well as schools in the UC and California State University systems, Scott said.
Because the Jump Start program takes place on the college campus, Scott said, the students are much more dedicated and focused on the work.
"There is a quantum leap in maturity that occurs between high school graduation and the first day of college," Scott said. "The Jump Start program helps to speed up that process."
While high school students have taken college-level courses at Mission for years, they have had to provide their own transportation.