Onekama High School students benefit from dual enrollment classes

ONEKAMA — The high cost of college is something that is always on the minds of high school juniors and seniors as getting a college education in today’s world can sometimes leave a student feeling financially overwhelmed.

A very successful program that has assisted students in getting a jump-start on their college education is dual enrollment. It is a program that West Shore Community College has run very successfully for many years with Manistee County schools.

What the program does is allow high school students to earn college credit for classes while they are still in high school provided they meet all their other undergraduate requirements. Where the savings come from is the school districts pay for the classes, and they come at no cost to the student.

One school district that has utilized that program for its students is the Onekama Consolidated Schools. School guidance counselor Scott McKenney informed the board of education this week just how their students are utilizing it to their advantage.

“As most of you know we have been working with West Shore Community College on dual enrollment for 15 years and each year we try and expand and change some of the things we do with dual enrollment ,” said McKenney.

McKenney pointed out that 14 Onekama High School seniors and juniors class are taking eight dual enrollment courses this fall. Six of the courses are online, one is an ITV telecast course and the other is a live course with a teacher. They include two sections of interpersonal communications and one each of English Composition, Introduction to Sociology, Psychology, American Government, U.S. History, music appreciation and Western Civilization.

“As you can see, we have quite a selection with eight different courses being offered here and with the exception of American government, all the other courses have been pretty standard,” said McKenney. “We have found over the last couple of years that American government is a class that more students are taking because it is a requirement of most colleges and universities.”

The Onekama Schools counselor pointed out that in the spring 2013 semester they have more classes that are being offered. In that semester they have 10 classes and 15 students have enrolled in those offerings.

“We have some that are a little different like Art Appreciation and Introduction to Philosophy,” said McKenney. “What we try to do is most of these classes are online classes that these students are taking.”

However, they will also be offering a different format on other classes, according to McKenney.

“There are some courses that they will be offering called ‘hybrid courses’ where one day each week they will be online doing work and another day of the week they are going to do some form of chat or forum with other students and the teacher,” said McKenney.

He pointed out that there will be one change in the spring semester regarding an ITV English Composition course because of a change in faculty at the college.

“They are not going to offer that through ITV, but they do have a professor who lives in the Manistee area who is going to offer the class at West Shore Medical Center,” said McKenney. “What they will do is go to the class one day a week on Monday and then on Wednesday they will do it as a hybrid class online. Hopefully, they will be able to do the ITV class next year.”

Another change they made because so many students take the English Comp I and II since it is a requirement at all colleges and universities. The district is also working with Baker College to offer English I on the campus and it will be taught by Onekama teacher Nikki Torrey.

“This is a fully accredited English composition course that they will take the first and second semester and get three credits for it,” said McKenney. “It is nice to actually have a teacher on staff that is teaching it and we have 10 students taking it this year. My guess is we will probably have somewhere between 12 and 14 students that will taking the class next year.

“We have a number of teachers here with master’s degrees that would qualify and they might actually be able to teach some additional classes through Baker that we might not normally be able to offer and do them as college credit. It is something we look forward to doing.”

For next year McKenney estimates between 10-12 senior students will be taking a combination of online and or English composition courses through Baker College. He also said that between 12 and 15 11th grade students will be taking English composition or some of the other online courses.

He said they plan to give the college compass test, which is a computer-adaptive college placement test that lets educators do the following:

* Evaluate incoming students’ skill levels in reading, writing skills, writing essay, math and English as a second language

* Places students in appropriate courses

* Connect students to the resources they need to achieve academic success.

“It is a requirement by West Shore Community College,” said McKenney. “We will be doing testing in February for fall enrollment that begins in April,” said McKenney.

 

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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