Sussex Tech prepares to begin Widener partnership
Course selection for the 2013-14 school year is taking place during February at Sussex Technical High School. In addition to academics and related technical classes, juniors and seniors at the countywide technical school now have the opportunity to study several college classes and receive college credit upon successful completion of the course. School administrators held a Family Forum Jan. 30 to introduce the process to students and parents.
Sussex Technical School District and Widener University have entered into a five-year exclusive Early Career and College Partnership that allows Sussex Tech students to take Widener University courses during their junior and senior years in high school. The dual enrollment will give students who take these courses and earn passing grades credits toward high school and college graduation.
“Since announcing this agreement last fall, we have had other inquiries about starting more programs [in the area],” said Dr. Brenda Gilio, Widener University acting dean, School of Education, Innovation and Continuing Studies. “But I told them no because we are exclusive partners with Sussex Tech in Sussex County.”
Sussex Technical High School will be offering eight Widener University courses as dual-enrollment course opportunities for students during the 2013-14 school year. There are two types of opportunities for high school students in the ECCP. First, entering juniors can participate in the cohort program. Second, entering juniors and seniors are eligible to enroll in multiple college courses through the ECCP elective program. Five arts and sciences courses and three education courses are available for 2013-14 student enrollment. Each course will provide students with the ability to earn at least three college credits and one high school credit simultaneously.
Students in the cohort program will have the opportunity to complete eight or more college courses before they graduate from high school, giving them the potential of 24-30 college credits at no cost. Cohort program participation is open to juniors and requires an 80 percent overall grade average or higher. Students interested in taking fewer college courses may enroll in courses through the elective program. The elective program is open to juniors and seniors. Juniors must have at least an 80 percent overall grade average to participate in the elective program. Seniors with an overall grade average of 80 percent or higher have full elective program access, while seniors with less than an 80 percent overall grade average may participate in a limited number of courses through the elective program. Courses will be taught either by Sussex Tech faculty who are approved by Widener University or by Widener University-approved adjunct faculty.
Some ECCP courses will be offered online during the day in a Sussex Tech computer lab that will have an adult monitor. Parents were told, however, that ECCP courses might not be for everyone. They are more demanding and require a lot of reading and writing. Students must be comfortable working independently and in a fast-paced environment. The ECCP program can ease the transition for students from high school to college because they learn the requirements needed to be successful in college.
Some pre-coursework is required for the ECCP courses. Students must participate in a one-morning College Orientation and Acceleration Program during Senior Project Week in May. Students must also participate in a one-day Summer College Orientation and Acceleration Session at Sussex Tech and complete related assignments.
Students need to decide now whether they want to participate in the ECCP program as course scheduling begins in February. There is no registration, course enrollment or textbook costs for Sussex Tech students. A few courses may contain limited materials or activity fees. Parents must participate in the on-site registration at Sussex Tech from April 29 to May 3.
Sussex Technical High School Principal Dr. John Demby is excited about being able to offer the ECCP opportunity to his students. “Sussex Tech gives our students three seeds on which to grow their futures,” said Demby.
Anyone seeking more information about the Early Career and College Partnership between Widener University and Sussex Technical High School can call the high school at 302-856-0961.