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Miami Middletown, MVCTC partnership makes college transition easier

Miami Middletown and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) are working together on a program that could help fill Ohio’s need for college graduates by making it easier for high-school students to make the transition to college.

The Dual Credit Program began earlier this year when Miami Middletown physics and math faculty teamed up with teachers at MVCTC to offer intermediate college algebra and college physics at MVCTC. Dual Credit allows students to take a college-level course and earn both high-school and college credit. In the spring, 38 students completed these courses. This fall, pre-calculus, statistics and another physics class have also been offered, with 28 students enrolled.

Dual Credit differs from the Post Secondary Enrollment Option in that it removes travel and transportation barriers for the students, which can be significant, as well as allowing them to continue to participate in high-school activities.

“The collaborative goal of the program is to develop a replicable model based on rigor, relevance and relationships,” said Kelly Cowan, Miami Middletown dean. “We’re also trying to focus on students who may not consider college as an option. It’s a bridge for first-generation college students.”

MVCTC is located in Clayton and serves 27 area high schools in five southwestern Ohio counties (Montgomery, Warren, Preble, Darke and Miami.) High-school juniors and seniors are enrolled in one of 52 career technical programs. Tuition for the dual credit classes has so far been covered by a state grant.

“The Dual Credit courses are taught by highly qualified MVCTC faculty mentored by Miami Middletown faculty and the students have to test into the course that they want to take,” said Miami Middletown assistant dean Cathy Bishop-Clark. “The high-school versions of the class have assignments, exams, lectures and labs that are similar or identical to the college class. The same text and same syllabus are used and the high-school students actually complete the work at a faster pace than their college counterparts.”

The push for dual credit classes began when Ohio State Bill 311 was passed in December 2006. It offered 16 grants statewide to develop a replicable model of a dual credit program that would include students who might not have considered college as an option. The $225,000 grant that MVCTC was awarded helped it partner with Miami Middletown to develop the program and continues to pay for the tuition of students in the program.

“We have seen some very positive outcomes from this program for our students, beyond the course curriculum, “ said Mary Beth Freeman, director of instructional development at MVCTC. “Our students put forth more effort, developed positive study habits and had an increased awareness of college expectations. This program and the relationship with Miami Middletown are a perfect fit for us.”

Online tutoring also has been made available to the MVCTC/Dual Credit students on four evenings each week.

“Ohio needs 230,000 new college graduates in the coming years to be able to compete globally,” said MVCTC superintendent John Boggess.” If we can get high-school juniors and seniors started on that path and show them that they can do college work, then we all benefit.”

“This has encouraged me to go to college even more,” said Miami East High School senior A.J. Plantz, a student in MVCTC’s Electronics Engineering Tech Prep program. “I’m very proud to be a Miami student.”

Almost 90 percent of the program’s first group of students and their parents said that the course had helped them prepare for full-time college.

Date Published: 11/29/2007
Volume: 27   Number: 11

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