Jamestown High School and Jamestown Community College have forged a partnership benefiting students by offering College Connections courses, which are a convenient and affordable way to earn concurrent high school and college credit. JHS offers a total of 23 College Connections courses. Students have the opportunity to earn three or four college credits for semester courses and six or eight college credits for yearlong courses.
“I am planning on attending JCC next year and it’s nice to be able to get some of my college-level classes done,” said JHS senior, Alexandra Gates, who has taken AT English 11 and College Level English 12, which will earn her nine college credits. “I’m planning on being a elementary education teacher and by taking courses in high school, I can take other classes that are more applicable to my major at JCC. It also just prepares me for what college will be like next year.”
One JCC College Connections course offered this year at JHS was Drawing I with JHS art teacher, Brandy Fuller, where students are exposed to advanced techniques, as well as journey down the path of discovering their own, signature artistic voice in a variety of media.
“In a world where college expenses continue to escalate, and jobs are scarce, I feel it is imperative for high schools to offer students the opportunity to take college- credit courses while in high school,” said Mrs. Fuller. “It is wonderful to be able to offer college level art courses at the high school, it also allows students to realize that the arts are something they can continue to study throughout college, and gain careers in. We have had a number of comments made to us from JCC art instructors that our students are well prepared for their art classes.”
Another new College Connections course offered spring semester is AT Pre-Calculus with Susan Gleason. This course is offered for four college credits. Eventually all pre-calculus students at JHS will be offered the opportunity to take the college-level course which will open up college credit being available to those students who may not take the current prerequisites of AP Calculus or College Level Calculus but pass the college connections course.
“We have seen a number of JHS students graduate from college in less than four years having taken college-level courses, which is such a great cost savings for our students,” said Mrs. Gleason. “It is a really great experience for both JHS teachers and students.”
“JCC’s College Connections courses are offered at no cost to the student, which is important, since it allows all students to access higher education, regardless of their socioeconomic background,” said Jade Barber, JCC’s Director of College Connections. “When a student goes to college with some of their credits already completed, it may afford them more freedom with their schedule to take advantage of other opportunities like internships and studying abroad.”
Each College Connections instructor works closely with a JCC faculty liaison who communicates on a regular basis with the instructors and visits their classroom to ensure the course is consistent with those being taught on campus. Instructors also attend an annual professional development workshop for their discipline.
“Taking these courses puts me ahead of the game,” said JHS junior Michael Quigley who has taken English 11 AT, AP U.S. History, JCC Drawing I and plans to take AP Art next year. He plans to go into art therapy or psychology. “You realize that you are in charge of your own work – the teachers expect you to perform just like a college student. My college level art courses have really strengthened my art skills and reinforced what I want to do as a career.”