Programs such as the Liberal Arts and Science & Math Academies are an accessible avenue for students to show their college readiness within the safety and support of their high school environment
The Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” and Klamath Union High School (KU) Liberal Arts and Math & Science Academies were in the spotlight in November as leaders from the two schools presented at a national conference in San Antonio, Texas.
At the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) conference, Oregon Tech Academic Partnerships Coordinator Grace Rusth was able to team up with KU teachers Valeria Menke and Lana Crumrine to highlight the success of the partnership between the high school and university.
“Programs such as the Liberal Arts and Science & Math Academies are an accessible avenue for students to show their college readiness within the safety and support of their high school environment,” said Rusth. “Students in each academy, between Oregon Tech and Klamath Union, have academic, social and emotional support systems built into their program.”
In 2010, the Accelerated Core Program was developed to encourage a diverse group of high achieving students with a strong academic background to enroll in a cohort of classes grades 9-11. These courses encouraged students to strive for excellence and begin thinking of their post-graduation plans early. During grade 12, these students concurrently enrolled in 18 transferable General Education credits at Oregon Tech. This program morphed into the Liberal Arts Academy and laid the foundation for the Science & Math Academy.
The NACEP session highlighted programmatic development; and the successes, challenges and community buy-in that ensured post-graduation success in a rural community. Menke is the college and career success navigator at Klamath Union. “Liberal Arts Academy is the first concurrent enrollment program of its type here in the Klamath Basin and is highly successful,” she said. “The program gives KU students the opportunity to challenge themselves academically, complete 18 transferable college credits, and build confidence in their ability to navigate college expectations. This experience gives them an enormous head-start when they enter college in the fall.” The program also helps make college more affordable as more than a term’s worth of courses have already been completed before students begin their freshman year.
“Liberal Arts Academy students have a 100 percent graduation rate from high school and show high success and acceptance rates at post-secondary institutions,” shared Rusth. “I anticipate the Science & Math Academy students will show similar success rates when the first class graduates in 2021.”