College, High Schools Make Commitment To Education

Daily Astorian | Dec. 6, 2012 1:35 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 6, 2012 9:35 p.m.

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Daily Astorian

Imagine high school students being able to earn college credits early for $30 a class.

The opportunity is coming this spring.

Donna Larson, vice president of instruction and student services at Clatsop Community College, focused Monday on how the college, through the new Coastal Commitment program, is helping gear local high school students up for an early start at post-secondary education.

“This program is to help us get more college credits to high school students in their junior and senior years,” said Larson, adding that the program mirrors a similar rural iteration known as Eastern Promise in eastern Oregon.

“We already have dual credit going on. This will add to it.”

In a county with only one physical post-secondary option, partnerships between school districts and CCC are key to the North Coast reaching the 40-40-20 goal. The goal is for 40 percent of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful postsecondary certificate and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025.

The idea of the dual credit Coastal Commitment program is that faculty from CCC and local high schools will work in Professional Learning Communities to ensure a challenging-enough curriculum in various subjects commonly serving as prerequisites in college.

If a student takes an advanced class involved in the Coastal Commitment program and scores high enough on the end-of-term assessment, they will receive both high school and college credits. If not, they still receive high school credits. Larson said another advantage is that high school students would only pay a $30 transcription fee to take the course.

“Now we need to sit down and figure out how this is going to work,” she said.

The program is in its infant stages, said Larson, but it will be organized during winter term and be ready for students by spring term.

“We’re working together to increase the opportunity to do that,” said Larry Galizio, president of the college, about getting high school students a jump start on college.

One of the achievement compacts between school districts and the state is that students will earn nine college credits while in high school. Teachers need at least a master’s degree or 30 graduate hours in a certain subject to teach it at an advanced placement level, which counts as college credit. Most teachers have master’s degrees, said Larson, but they’re in teaching.

Superintendent Doug Dougherty of Seaside lauded leaders’ speed in coming up with the framework for Coastal Commitment in about three months. He said the college brought the idea to districts about two months ago.

“This is something that the entire state is watching,” he said. “This is something we’re all concerned about.”

Larson said another part of the program is increasing students’ comfort level with post-secondary education and getting them to continue into college after high school, earning associate’s, two-year and other career-technical degrees and certificates.

A previous statewide symposium on 40-40-20 resulted in a report that discusses strategies for rural districts reaching the 40-40-20 goal. A copy of the report can be found at www.oregon.gov/gov/oeib/docs/nnousreport.pdf

This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.


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