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Students earn college credit through CollegeNow! Summer Program

Students earn college credit through CollegeNow! Summer Program
Posted on 08/15/2017
Robbinsdale Area Schools has been working hard this summer to engage students in high quality academic enrichment activities. One example of this fine work is the CollegeNow! Summer Academy, a program created through the school district’s partnership with Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

This summer, students who haven’t officially even started high school were among more than 40 students from Robbinsdale Area Schools who spent part of their summer earning college credit in one or more of the four  college courses through the CollegeNow! Summer Academy. These courses included Intro to Sociology; Public Speaking; First Year Student Transitions: Strategies for College Success; and The Community Health Worker Role: Advocacy and Outreach.  Students could take up to two courses in the summer academy, which ran June 12-July 31.

During a break in Carolina Cavillo’s Intro to Sociology class on Monday, July 17, students elaborated on their reasons for utilizing part of their summer break to take CollegeNow! courses. Jacob Worwa, an incoming freshman at Armstrong High School, said he found out about the program through a guidance counsellor.

“I’d like to get a head start on my education,” he said. “I think I’d like to go to film school out west after high school.”

Abigail Shreeves, a soon-to-be 10th-grader at Cooper High School, said she wanted to earn as many college credits as she could before graduating from high school.

“I haven’t really heard of a program like this,” she said. “I moved here from Florida, and in Florida, we had nothing like this, so I thought it was a cool idea. I want to be a veterinary technician, which takes six years of college. I’d recommend this to my friends, because you learn a lot and work with people from different backgrounds.”

Cooper High School rising Senior Gwen Smith took CollegeNow! courses this summer because the classes’ accelerated pace is similar to her International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) classes at Cooper High School.

“IB itself is fast, but really in-depth … I need to be globally minded and I am always thinking. It forces me to be a better scholar,” Smith said. “After high school, I plan to major in psychology with a minor in law, if only for the ability to become a forensic psychoanalyst. I rather like the idea of combining psychology and law, especially when it pertains to the legal system and people with mental illnesses.”

Calvillo, who teaches courses at MCTC in addition to her work as an equity specialist with Robbinsdale Area Schools, says students who take CollegeNow! courses will be better prepared for college courses.

“It’s a great opportunity to get ahead,” she said. “These students are exceptional. Some of them are at the same level or even ahead of some of my freshman college students in terms of their intellectual prowess and maturity.”

Opportunities like the CollegeNow! Summer Academy allows students to transition to college courses without navigating the requirements of postsecondary enrollment options (PSEO) courses.  According to Director of Achievement and Integration/ College and Careers Tamuriel Grace, students in CollegeNow! do not have to use their GPA to participate as they would in PSEO, which creates an opportunity for all students to try college-level courses.

“We are really excited about the second year of this program, and we have a great group of students and staff who continue to motivate the students to excellence,” Grace said. “Many students want to continue with PSEO in the fall. We are particularly proud of the ninth-grade students who are truly motivated, skilled and will make an immediate positive impact on their high schools.  As we continue to partner with college and universities, we want to ensure that all students have the opportunity to explore courses beyond high school and learn to navigate the systems of higher education.”