Making students college and career ready

  • Thursday, July 10, 2014

A good number of DD2 high school students are spending their summer vacation hitting the books.

A new partnership with ECPI University has rising eleventh-graders in DD2 taking an entry-level college course in Computer and Information Science. Through the new dual enrollment agreement, local high school students can earn college credit and industry certifications to ensure college and/or work readiness, said DD2 Assistant Superintendent Sean Alford.

“We are always trying to find opportunities for students to be well-prepared,” Alford said.

The program began July 8. A press release from ECPI University says that approximately 75 DD2 students are enrolled in the program.

“It’s not always about preparing kids for a four-year college,” Alford said. “Some students are really excited about going into the workforce upon graduation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need challenging or rigorous course work.”

Alford added that the Lowcountry region is “thriving” in the need for individuals who have a very strong background in information technology and STEM areas.

“That need is increasing every day,” Alford said. “We’re trying to make sure when our kids leave the school district that they’ve had as much advance training in those areas as possible.”

The summer class is being held at each of the three high schools. Elena Furnari, director of high schools for the district, said students will be doing some of the course work online and will also have class time with a professor once a week. The summer class is five weeks long.

“We are just trying to broaden the scope of what we offer our kids, and we’re excited,” Furnari said.

Students had to apply to participate in the program and meet initial requirements. Alford said students who are enrolled in the program will be taking a total of nine courses, one each term, over the next two years.

Upon completion of the whole program students will be eligible to receive the following certifications: CompTIA’s Network+, Security+, A+ and Cloud Essentials.

For the past two years DD2 has been working with Jamie Wood, workforce development director with Berkely-Charleston-Dorchester Governments (BCD COG), to prepare students for such jobs.

“We share DD2’s vision of making students either college or career-ready,” Wood said.

Wood said BCD COG works with all school districts in the tri-country area to achieve that goal.

“We’re just proud of this partnership and we’re happy to assist the district and anyone else that we can with advancing our workforce,” Wood said.

DD2 recently signed a new initiative with Charleston Southern University, in which students who earn 60 credit hours through the district’s Early College Program (ECP) can now receive automatic acceptance as a junior to CSU. The ECP participants also began classes this summer.

Alford said with that imitative, and this new partnership with ECPI University, DD2 has hundreds of kids engaged in coursework this summer.

“If a kid is excited about learning, we are going to give them that opportunity,” Alford said.

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