Vernonia High School is offering dual credit for students who enroll in either of two new Digital Arts classes.
Students can take Video Production I and Graphics for Multimedia with Digital Arts instructor Doran Lower and receive both high school and college credit simultaneously. College credit is through Portland Community College (PCC).
“The idea of these classes is, not only to have other electives available in our school, but also to provide our students with the opportunity to receive free college credits before they actually leave high school,” says Lower.
According to Lower, both classes are being made available as part of the high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. Funding to establish the program came from PCC and the Vernonia School District CTE Grant. The CTE grant purchased a new Creative Cloud 2014 Adobe Suite of software for Lower’s computer lab.
Lower is an approved dual credit instructor through PCC. Once enrolled in the high school class, students can register for PCC credit and then have eighteen weeks to complete the work required for the ten week college course. Lower inputs grades for students into the PCC system. Read More
• 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 (PCC) continued their discussions with local residents on October 21, 2014 concerning the potential course offerings at the planned Columbia County education center, scheduled to open in 2017.
This latest meeting was just part of the community outreach that PCC is conducting to gather input about what classes, programs and services the education center should provide.
Beginning in May of 2014 PCC has surveyed educators in Columbia County and also met with school superintendents and elected officials from Vernonia, St. Helens and Scappoose. (PCC’s service area does not include the Rainier or Clatskanie school districts.) They also met with key employers and stakeholders followed by two open community forums in Scappoose and St. Helens. They then met with guidance councilor and school administrators from the three school districts and met and surveyed high school students as well.
The Columbia County education center is expected to consist of roughly three classrooms. PCC is still seeking a location of approximately twenty acres to site the campus, which would provide space for expansion in the future. A decision on the site is expected in March of 2015. PCC is also re-examining the development of a Public Safety Regional Training Center, which would require a site of over 200 acres, and could be developed in conjunction with the Columbia County education center. Read More
Students, parents, employers and community leaders are invited to participate in an open discussion October 21 beginning at 6:00 PM at the Columbia River Receptions & Events at Meriwether Place in St. Helens. The forum is sponsored by Portland Community College. Light refreshments will be available.
“Since early June, we have been meeting with people from St. Helens, Scappoose and Vernonia asking them to share their thoughts related to the PCC center scheduled to open in the county in 2017,” said Sandra Fowler-Hill, president of the PCC Rock Creek Campus. “We have studied surveys completed by students and school administrators, we have heard from local employers, and we have heard directly from more than 100 individuals who attended our summer forums. It’s time to report back to the community what we heard and discuss next steps.”
She added, “The PCC Center will be successful only if Columbia County residents support it. We hope to offer the types of classes, programs and services that will appeal to a broad range of learners. This includes technical training, college prep, community education and offerings that would make a good employee a great employee.” Read More