Seven Bellflower Unified incoming juniors will be welcomed at a 4 p.m. Monday, June 15 reception into Cerritos College’s Middle Scholars program, which allows students to take a two-year slate of college courses for both high school and college credit.

The students represent the second group of participants in a dual-enrollment program launched at Bellflower Unified School District this year with three juniors each at Bellflower and Mayfair high schools.

The program is aimed at students interested in pursuing teaching credentials, especially those who hope to specialize in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Students attend classes at their high schools each morning during their junior and senior years, attend Cerritos College from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and volunteer as tutors at elementary and middle schools on Fridays.

“Our Middle Scholars program provides an innovative avenue to success for students with clearly defined educational goals and who are ready for college-level instruction,” Bellflower Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “I congratulate our seniors as they enter the program’s second year and welcome our new cohort of juniors as they begin this exciting journey.

The dual-enrollment program – which includes students at ABC, Downey, Norwalk-La Mirada and Paramount unified school districts – requires students to perform at high levels in English and Algebra II to participate.

Middle Scholars attend about eight Cerritos College classes, worth about 24.5 units. Courses include basic college orientation programs as well as freshman composition and a trio of geology, biology and chemistry classes.

Credit for most courses is transferable to UC and/or CSU campuses; the science classes are among those required of teachers who specialize in STEM subjects.

Mayfair High School junior Camille Burrus said the college classes were tougher than those at her high school, but they also provided her with more freedom in the learning environment.

“Students’ opinions are encouraged and professors do not manage assignments for you,” Burrus said. “As a result, you become a more responsible student.”

Classmate Jeremy Huff agreed with Burrus, saying he liked the fast pace of the college classes and the chance to interact with professors.

Both students said the tutoring program helped show them the challenges of teaching.

“Students have different learning styles, like kinesthetic, auditory and visual,” Burrus said. “So you approach teaching them differently.”

Colleen McKinley, Bellflower Unified’s Director of Secondary Education, said the program provides invaluable insight both into future careers and college demands.

“This program is a terrific early starting point for students who want to become teachers, especially those interested in teaching in high demand STEM areas,” McKinley said. “The program is also an amazing opportunity for our students to earn college credits while in high school.”

The June 15 reception will be held at Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk.