Area high school students will have the opportunity to earn college credits through a new partnership with SUNY Canton.
The College recently received a $200,000 grant from the New York State Education Department enabling them to work with Ogdensburg Free Academy, Massena High School and St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES as part of the Smart Scholars Early College High School (ECHS) program.
“Students who earn college credits in high school are more likely to graduate and successfully attend college,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “This program allows us to provide quality, career-oriented educational opportunities to local high school students while preparing them for future success at the college level. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
The Smart Scholars ECHS program is a newly implemented program designed to give students the opportunity to accelerate the completion of high school studies while earning college credits at the same time, according to a recent press release from the New York State Education Department.
Students receive additional academic support from school and college partnerships to ensure they are at grade level and ready to participate in rigorous collegiate courses. This ‘dual enrollment’ program serves to increase high school graduation and college completion rates among those historically left in the gap, while reducing college tuition costs as a result of the more than 20 college credits earned in high school.
“I am thrilled with this award and the opportunities it will provide high school students in the North Country,” said JoAnne M. Fassinger, grants coordinator at SUNY Canton. “In the program’s first year, 90 total rising freshmen, sophomores and juniors will be eligible to participate. We want the younger students to see the success achieved by the older students obtaining dual enrollment credit.”
The entering ninth graders will attend the program at Massena Central and Ogdensburg Free Academy High Schools beginning during the 2011-2012 academic year. Teachers from participating high schools will teach the college-level credit bearing courses. Students will learn in a variety of formats in addition to the traditional face-to-face classroom experience, including online, video-conferencing, and distance learning. Students will be invited to participate in a variety of activities at SUNY Canton.
“When they graduate high school and arrive for the first day of college, we do not want the experience to be a foreign one to them,” said Adrienne C. Rygel, assistant professor in SUNY Canton’s Canino School of Engineering Technology and the College’s program coordinator. “This allows us to better acclimate these students by providing them with a seamless transition between high school and college.”
Students in the program will have access to many of the opportunities as a college student, including e their own SUNY Canton identification cards, access to tutoring, the library, and events being held on the campus.
SUNY Canton received one of the 16 grants announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Education Commissioner David M. Steiner in May. Previously, eleven Smart Scholars ECHS partnerships were initiated in December 2009 with private funding, in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition to this year’s $5.5 million in program grants, $500,000 was funded to provide technical assistance for all 27 ECHS projects.
Since the initial $6 million grant in 2009, the Smart Scholars ECHS program has supported 2,570 minority or low-income students. More than 2,600 students are expected to benefit from the additional funding provided this year.