• In November, PCC was awarded a planning grant from the Ford Family Foundation to explore how our Future Connect program model could be implemented in rural communities in PCC’s district, including Columbia County. Future Connect is a scholarship and support program that provides low income/first generation college students with support to access and succeed in college. PCC staff will reach out to stakeholders in Columbia County and western Washington County over the next year to learn how Future Connect might be implemented in rural communities. To learn more about this exceptional program, please visit http://www.pcc.edu/resources/future-connect/.
• Vernonia High School has started a Distance Learning Program through PCC which allows students to earn both high school and college credits simultaneously. It began last fall as a pilot program and successfully engaged 16 students in a college-level writing course. The goal is to develop the program and offer a diverse array of classes. This program, supported by Vernonia School District and offered at no cost to participating students, is an excellent opportunity to get a running start at college-level work.
• Always eager to recycle usable goods, Rock Creek Campus made its second major surplus donation to Vernonia Schools in November. The school received 21 computer tables, 50 overhead storage bins, one ADA standing desk and 12 Dell flat screen monitors. The donation was valued at $11,600. Rock Creek made an earlier donation to Vernonia in May. The value of that delivery of 85 computers and 47 flat screen monitors was assessed at $17,450. The total Rock Creek surplus donation to Vernonia Schools in 2014 was $29,050. Read More
Vernonia High School has started a Distance Learning program through Portland Community College (PCC) which allows Vernonia students to concurrently earn both high school and college credits.
“It is critical for us to have opportunities for our students to earn college credits before they leave high school,” said Vernonia School District Superintendent Aaron Miller about the program. “There are lots of high school programs that are providing dual credits and we need to continue to look at opportunities like that for our kids. It helps solidify their learning in high school and it gets them thinking about their future and their plans and how they’re going to get there. It’s an essential piece of our education process.”
The Distance Learning Program began this fall as a pilot program and has been operating smoothly so far. According to high school principal Nate Underwood and School Counselor Pete Weisel, the program was initiated last spring when Vernonia juniors and some high achieving sophomores were offered an opportunity to take the Compass college placement testing. With limited funding the District still wanted to find a way to begin offering students who were ready, and could test into college level courses, some type of expanded educational opportunity.
“We wanted to see what classes they were interested in and what they were able to test into,” said Weisel. “This is a way for us to replace Advanced Placement classes. The District doesn’t have enough students to justify paying a teacher to teach these types of classes, but we can still provide students with some college level cirriculum.”
“I think this is a step in the right direction to meet the academic needs of our students,” says Underwood. “It’s a baby step, but it is a step for us.”
Weisel says that not only is this a pilot project for VHS, but it is also a pilot project for PCC, who Weisel says hasn’t really worked this way with a high school before. “With PCC expanding into Columbia County with a physical location in the next few years, we’re hoping that having that campus here will only help our students in terms of having access to PCC instructors,” says Weisel. Read More
Portland Community College has begun plans to develop an education center in Columbia County.
The campus will be built with funding already secured from a bond measure passed by voters in 2008.
PCC hosted a working breakfast with local business leaders on Thursday, June 5 in St. Helens to discuss what programs and services to provide at the new center. The breakfast was moderated by new PCC Rock Creek Campus President Sandra Fowler-Hill.
“This is no longer hypothetical,” said State Senator Betsy Johnson at the breakfast meeting. “We are starting this partnership.” Over 50 local leaders attended the meeting which featured small group discussions. Many public and business sectors were represented including energy production, manufacturing, natural resources, construction, law enforcement, public education, public administration, and media. Read More