To The Daily Sun,
I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly recognize Lakes Region Community College for its efforts to collaborate with Laconia High School over the past three years. Their efforts have created many opportunities that support and motivate our students both while they are attending LHS and when they graduate. Recently, they have created another opportunity for our students and I wanted to share this good news with our community.
It is amazing to think about the changes in education that have occurred over the past 20 years.
Dual enrollment, students having the ability to take on courses that offer both high school and college credit at the same time, have been initiated and expanded during that time. Students in some states now have the opportunity to complete up to an Associate of Arts Degree during their final two years of high school. We are now moving in that very same direction.
Lakes Region Community College has been working with us to create those opportunities right here in Laconia. Over the past three years, we have worked together to create dual enrollment opportunities on our campus that support our students' college aspirations. The program, called Project Running Start, offers students college credit for courses offered at the high school campus. These courses are taught by LHS teachers with a Master's degree in the subject area in collaboration with a professor at the college. The syllabus is approved by the college to ensure its rigor. Students who choose to take these courses can receive college credits for them for the nominal fee of $150 (per three credit course.) This represents a significant reduction in cost for courses of any college I am aware of.
But Lakes Region Community College has now taken it to the next level. Beginning the in fall of 2015, LRCC will be providing LHS students with the opportunity to literally attend college while still in high school. That is correct, Sachem students who have committed themselves to educational excellence (as defined by the attainment of a 3.0 GPA) will be able to take some courses at LRCC next fall, on their campus, and begin exploring their college aspirations with actual college course opportunities. For students who do not have a strong frame of reference about "what college is all about" this represents a tremendous opportunity that will serve to open the doors to their future.
We are very excited about this for several reasons: It serves to enhance students' perceptions and understanding of what is required for college success. It is a springboard that reinforces the pursuit of higher education during an era when higher education has never been more important (nor costly). This opportunity is earned through academic performance that precedes the opportunity. It is therefore consistent with how the world generally works. It comes at a very low cost ($250) when compared with actual costs for regular students entering their freshman year of college.
As the proud principal of Laconia High School, I want to publicly thank Lakes Region Community College for their ongoing efforts to support and enrich the educational experiences and opportunities afforded students attending Laconia High School. We are privileged to work with a local community college that so consistently demonstrates its care and investment in the aspirations of our students.
Jim McCollum, Principal
Laconia High School
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