by Mitchell Kirk
Logansport Community School Corp. and Indiana University-Kokomo are working to enhance their partnership in an effort to continue to encourage students to attain a college degree.
Logansport High School and IUK’s current dual-credit partnership includes advanced college placement classes for students and training for high school teachers to teach college material. LCSC and IUK administrators met Monday to discuss ways to enhance the program.
“We’re trying to discuss ways we can partner with the school so their students can experience the college classroom,” said Susan Sciame-Giesecke, interim chancellor at IUK.
While developments have yet to be made official, those involved in the discussions said they might entail arranging college visits, introducing high school faculty members to college faculty members to establish an easier transition for students going from high school coursework to college coursework, and getting involved more with the Century Career Center.
“We want to get [students] thinking about what a great opportunity they have just 30 miles away,” said Michele Starkey, LCSC superintendent.
Logansport’s Hispanic student population is one of the areas those involved say the initiative will specifically address.
According to the latest data available on the Pew Research Center’s website, 16.5 percent of America’s 18 to 24-year-olds enrolled in college were Hispanic in 2011.
“Going to college isn’t a normal part of their culture,” Sciame-Giesecke said, adding that the initiative will address ways to emphasize to Hispanic students the importance of post-secondary education.
Starkey agreed, saying many Hispanic students often forgo college in order to help take care of their families.
“In trying to encourage them, we want to let them know here’s a college that’s close and help them understand how paying for it works and informing them of scholarships they’re not aware of,” Starkey said.
Students in grades below high school were discussed during the meeting as well.
Eighth graders at Lincoln Middle School in Logansport are already offered a class called Preparing for College and Careers that allows them to work with a guidance counselor to finalize a graduation plan for high school, explore different college options in Indiana and learn what the requirements are of a degree they may be interested in.
The school and university administrators also discussed taking this one step further by having the eighth graders out to the campus.
“When you’re preparing for high school, you have to realize you’re also preparing for college,” Sciame-Giesecke said.
Jeff Canady, principal of Lincoln Middle School, agreed.
“Any time we can get students to visit a college campus and get them to have a personal look at what college life is like for a student wets their interest and hopefully they would try to work toward that after high school,” he said.
Sciame-Giesecke said more work would be done on this initiative after the end of the school year.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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