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Partnership between St. Catharine College and Washington County Schools proves successful

A recent update from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky Partnership Academies indicate that the partnership between St. Catharine College and Washington County Schools is successful.

In 2011, St. Catharine College partnered with Washington County Schools (WCS) and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) to establish an early college program for Washington County High School students.

Initially 25 juniors from student populations that are typically under-represented at Kentucky’s postsecondary institutions participated at the start of the program known as the Washington County Commander College.

The program

The first cohort of this two-year initiative slowly moved juniors from dual credit classes scheduled and taught at WCHS to full exposure and scheduling at the St. Catharine College campus by the completion of their senior year.

Initially, the juniors moved as a cohort, but the seniors are slowly branching out with their electives as they work to attain an associate degree in liberal arts.

The first cohort participated in a summer bridge program in math at St. Catharine College to prepare them for college math (their weakest area as a group). In addition, two one-credit classes have been offered in college readiness during their senior year.

The results

Participants in Commander College are scoring significant ACT gains in English, math, science and reading. However, it’s not the only area that Commander College students are excelling.

Commander College participants are achieving higher grade point averages than non-participants.

In school year 2010-11, Commander College students held an average 3.33 GPA versus an average of 2.5 GPA of their fellow students. In 2011-12, the difference was 2.96 to 2.34.

Additionally, Commander College students miss fewer days of school.

In 2010-11, Commander College students were in school an average of 164.3 days while non-participants were in school 163.6 days. In 2011-12, the gap increased to 164 versus 162.

The future

Twelve students are on track to receive their degrees in May 2013. The remaining students in the cohort have greatly increased the number of college credits they have earned and all are planning on a college career.

A second cohort of juniors has started and includes students enrolled in an associate degree in early childhood education in addition to the liberal arts offering.

Data provided by Washington County Schools. For more information about Washington County Commander College, contact Dr. Jan Lantz at St. Catharine College (janlantz@sccky.edu).

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