GREEN RIVER — “Kinks.” Both the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 superintendent and Green River principal used the word.
The adjective was used to describe the challenges the high school’s concurrent college enrollment program faced in its first few semesters. Relatively few details were offered on the initial issues that faced the program Sweetwater No. 2 calls Middle College.
But perhaps it doesn’t matter. As Superintendent Donna Little-Kaumo announced in her State of the District address, participating students have tripled since last year.
Since spring semester 2016, GRHS has collaborated with Western Wyoming Community College for students to earn college credit while in high school, GRHS Principal Darren Howard said. This fall, 60 students are participating. They have been selected based on criteria that includes test scores, “past performances in course work” (including GPA), “predictors from the ACT suite” and “teacher input,” Howard said.
“I’m glad we got the kinks out,” Little-Kaumo said in her speech.
Earlier, she told the Rocket-Miner, “As far as the students go, I’m real excited, because it’s a real gift to have those courses. It gives them a head start in finishing college.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our kids,” Howard said. “And parents are excited because their kids can get a double major because they get ahead.”
After the first “cohort” — seniors who were second-year sophomores in the inaugural semester — students can earn an associate degree before they enroll as full-time students at WWCC, Howard said. That means that they don’t have as high a college credit mountain to climb to earn a double major within a standard college enrollment time frame.
Little-Kaumo noted WWCC continues to collaborate with University of Wyoming for community college credits to transfer to the state university. Howard described working with WWCC as “fantastic,” noting students can participate in the college courses both at the high school and at the WWCC main campus and also participate in GRHS activities.
Other folks involved in starting Middle College include WWCC Director of Distance Learning Nancy Johnson, Wyoming House Rep. John Freeman and GRHS personnel Lacy Stulken, Coty Nikont and Shannon Brichacek, according to Howard.
GRHS intentionally “started small” initially to work out “kinks” and has “tightened up” criteria over the past year-and-a-half, Howard said.
“We’re not going to let them just fail,” he added. ““We monitor them closely to make sure they (succeed).”
Students and counselors meet regularly. The goal for students from Middle College’s first semester is to be halfway to their associate degree when they graduate from GRHS, Howard said.
Little-Kaumo said Concurrent enrollment courses include math and science.