College environment invades NCHS-East

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, October 4, 2008

CREEKSVILLE—Freshmen students here now have a chance to leave their first year in high school with a college credit on their record.

A partnership between Roanoke-Chowan Community College (RCCC) and Northampton County High School-East (NCHS-East) has implemented a class called “Intro to College Success” at the school. The class allows participating students to earn one college credit and is a part of RCCC’s Early College Program.

“It helps their self esteem,” said NCHS-East Principal Pamela Chamblee. “We’ve been pleased with their performance so far.”

According to Chamblee and Geneva Squire, Northampton County Schools’ coordinator for student accountability and assessment career technical education, the course prepares students for taking college courses. Among the facets found in the course, students learn how to establish realistic goals, prepares them for increased coursework and studying and explains grade point average (GPA).

The class, which has an enrollment of 125 students this semester, is held once a week and is taught by an RCCC instructor.

Squire along with RCCC’s Gloria Fairless worked to make the class happen at NCHS-East. Chamblee noted there is no cost to students (or their parents) taking the course.

During the summer three awareness sessions were held for students and parents to fill out the appropriate applications and prepare for the course.

Squire said it was important to target freshmen students for the class as a way to prevent them from dropping out of high school.

“In the freshman year a lot of students give up,” said Squire.

She explained students typically begin to experience failure during that time. School officials hope to combat that by offering “Intro to College Success” and allowing students to see the possibilities if they continue their education.

“You can mold a student in their freshman year,” she said.

Chamblee also sees the class as a tool for preventing students from dropping out.

“We’re trying to make that not an option (by offering this class),” she said.

Squire said in the past there was barrier for NCHS-East students taking college courses as traditionally students have been transported via long bus trip to RCCC’s campus. For the students enrolled in “Intro to College Success,” they are able to stay on the high school’s campus for their studies because the instructor comes to them.

Squire noted this class could also open doors for students who could go on to take more of the several Early College classes offered at NCHS-East, including Early Childhood Education and Intro to Criminal Justice.

She said school officials are looking into duel enrollment; for example while a student is taking “Intro to College Success” they could be taking an Early Childhood Education course at the same time.

Chamblee said she has received encouraging feedback from students on their goal-setting abilities, learning different career possibilities and understanding the various choices in life.

Squire said she has heard positive comments from parents, most of which are happy that their children have an opportunity to advance their education.

The class will be offered to next year’s incoming freshmen as well as students who have an interest in taking any of RCCC’s Early College courses.

“I’m just very appreciative of the support we received from RCCC while trying to implement the class,” said Squire. “It just went really well and I hope it will go even better next year.”