Dual enrollment in the Warren County School District has been exclusively focused on students on a traditional four-year college track.
The first step in offering dual enrollment opportunities for students interested in pursuing technical post-secondary education sailed through the school district board of directors' Curriculum, Instruction and Technology committee on Monday night.
The agreement between the district and Penn College would allow students taking course work at the Warren County Career Center to potentially receive credit toward a degree at Penn College.
"We didn't reach out to them," Director of Secondary Education Amanda Hetrick said. "They found us."
The agreement is under review by school district Solicitor Chris Byham, but was moved to the full board for action at November's meeting. "Any changes wouldn't be substantive," Hetrick said.
The agreement would offer dual enrollment for students in the welding program and could potentially expand to different programs at the Career Center in the future.
This program is similar to the dual enrollment program that was recently approved with Pitt-Bradford. School district instructors will teach the courses and staff at Penn College will serve as a mentors to district staff to ensure that the content of the courses meets Penn College's standards. Hetrick said Penn College is "more hands on" in providing support and noted that the current welding instructor is a graduate of the Penn College program.
"We have not been able to locate the program where we could give credit (in technical)," Hetrick said, indicating that the district is "excited to give the opportunity."
Former board member Kim Angove asked what the cost would be to the student and Hetrick said that the cost will vary based on the program and that a "clear picture" on costs has yet to be established. In dual enrollment scenarios, students and their families are responsible for covering the costs of tuition charged by the institution of higher learning.
Board member Nancy McDanel said that, in her human resources career at Truck-Lite, the company often employed Penn College graduates. "They (graduates) were always highly rated," she said. "(It's) exciting too that we have this opportunity for the kids."
Hetrick explained that since Penn College is a Penn State University division, Penn College credits are routinely transferable to Penn State.
"It seems like a lot of positive and not many negatives, if any," committee Chair Dr. Paul Yourchisin said.
The agreement "would open up an additional opportunity for our kids who are on a different path," Amy Stewart, director of administrative support services, said.