Tam Partner Program with COM

College of Marin (COM) began a college readiness program in collaboration with Tam High, called Compass, at the start of the second semester.

The program’s goal is to improve the readiness of low income and first generation college students, according to assistant superintendent of educational services Tara Taupier and vice president of student services at COM Jonathan Eldridge.

“[These students] have an opportunity to develop skills as well take a college course now in high school. It helps to prepare them for four-year college and helps develop their skills,” Principal J.C. Farr said.

Compass takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays at tutorial and student participants are chosen by administration, though interested students are encouraged to join.

Compass currently has enrolled 15 to 20 students, but, according to Farr, that number may increase to 60 or 80 next year.

“We are hoping to expand next year and continue to grow the program so that there are cohorts of students potentially,” Farr said.

According to Farr, this growth will help students gain confidence and find an outlet for their interests. “Students that maybe did not believe that they were four-year [college] material or struggling, now they have an avenue,” Farr said. “We felt that this was an area that could potentially help students…. What we want is a school that [has a] diversity of offerings we believe can match our students with their interest and their needs.”

Freshman Mary Jane Davis has had a positive experience in the program. “So far….I am learning a lot of things I need to understand in order to pave my future in the right way,” she said. Davis is excited that she is learning what she needs to do to be ready for post-secondary education. “They are teaching me what I need to do to get to college, and how colleges work….it’s worth [missing tutorial] because I am getting a head start on things,” she said.  

According to Taupier, COM began this program because of the number of students who were coming into college without the proper skills. “College of Marin wished to improve college readiness and hence reduce the amount of remedial classes students who have to take upon matriculation,” Taupier said.

According to Farr, COM turned to high school programs in order to save money that was being spent remediating students. “…Because what they found is when kids were enrolling into COM they had to have a lot of remediation. So rather of spending money there they decided to partner with the schools to help schools develop the skills of the students,” he said.

The compass program will have no significant costs to the district, according to Taupier.