BY JACOB SCHULTE
Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral. Carolyn Sue Johnson, Instructional Support Assistant at the DHS center, works at her desk.
While the main College of the Desert campus in Palm Desert renovates and the one in Palm Springs dives into further stages of development, Director of West Valley Education Centers Scott Adkins assures the community that the Desert Hot Springs campus too is a vital part of both the school and the local community.
“We’ve had classes here since the fall of 2016, so it’s now going on its 4th year,” Adkins said. “This campus was started of a need to have more classes up in this area. It happened at a time when we were supposed to be starting the Palm Springs campus, but it was delayed, so we decided to offer classes here.”
The DHS campus is far from limited, with a tutoring and academic center to assist students open four days a week. There is a food pantry, student services and other available services.
“Students can do just about everything here that they can on the main campus except fill out their financial aid paperwork, but we do have workshops that help teach that process,” Adkins said. “There’s a ton of help available here, some students that may take mostly online-only courses can come here for tutoring and support. It’s a great place for our students to work.”
COD is also finding ways to impact the local youth and instill academic confidence in the young community.
“Out here, we also work with the federally funded TRiO Educational Talent Search program,” Adkins said. “They reach out to DHS high school and local middle schools and promote COD, as well as taking kids to field trips to four-year universities in places like Los Angeles and San Diego so that they can have an experience of college early, maybe shake some personal fears off. We want DHS students to know there is a path to a four-year university if that’s what they want to do.”
Carolyn Sue Johnson, an instructional support assistant at the DHS center, talks about her most rewarding aspects of the job as an on-site tutor.
“For me, the best part about helping the students is when I see they start to understand the concepts they struggle with,” Carolyn said. “Watching them complete a class with a good grade, to finish and graduate, that process is rewarding to see. I live in this community, so it’s great to see students from my local community of Desert Hot Springs take their education seriously and moving on to do good things, then coming back to help the community,” said Johnson.
As for the future of the Desert Hot Springs campus, including which or if more classes should be offered, Adkins said he wants to make more research-based decisions based on things like what local schools are already teaching, and what fits students needs most.
“We’re trying to be more thoughtful with what we’re offering, we meet with the Palm Springs Unified School District every quarter, researching as much as possible about how we can best impact our current and future students,” Adkins said. “If we’re more strategic about what we’re doing or what we offer, our students will be more successful,” said Adkins.
The DHS campus is located at 11625 West Drive, Desert Hot Springs, Calif. For more information, call 760-776-7370 or 760-776-7370.