The Richmond Community College Board of Trustees and the Richmond County Board of Education presented on Tuesday the numerous benefits their relationship will bring to the students in the county.
The Career and College Promise plan, or dual enrollment, allows students from Richmond Senior High School to take free college classes at RCC to get a head start on their college careers. Students will receive college credit as well as credit at the high school for the classes taken.
Anthony Clarke, vice president of instruction and chief academic officer at RCC, said at the board of education meeting in Hamlet that in the past the college has offered courses during the first block period at the high school, but the college will be offering more options to ensure that all students have an opportunity to expand their education.
Career and College Promise offers two paths designed to prepare students for careers that are perfect for them. Those pathways are the college transfer pathway and the career and technical education pathway.
The college transfer pathway program is designed to provide high school juniors and seniors with a seamless way to accelerate their progress towards earning a baccalaureate degree.
Clark said that all the courses offered through the program will be transferable to all 16 public universities in North Carolina and even some participating private universities. During the first block at the high school, the college will be offering a total of 10 courses including a new course — Introduction to Criminal Justice. The college will also start offering classes during fourth block and providing free transportation to and from the high school via buses during that time.
Career and technical education pathway will also give eligible high school students access to tuition free courses for highly skilled careers such as electrical wiring and electronics technology, industrial systems technology and nursing assistants.
The high school will also be hosting college courses on its campus in Rockingham. Clark said that the college has reserved classrooms at the high school in order to provide a separate atmosphere so that students know and feel that they are part of a college course.
“Now there are a lot of courses you can take at RSHS campus or at RCC,” said high school Principal Keith McKenzie at the RCC board of trustees meeting on Tuesday in Laurinburg. “In the future, we will add a Richmond Community College wing at the high school so that RCC will be there.”
Clark said that the student fee for high school students seeking dual enrollment has also been waived, making the process even easier and more affordable for students to continue their education.
RCC’s relationship with Richmond County Schools has resulted in an increase in the community college’s enrollment when the majority of North Carolina’s community colleges have seen enrollment numbers fall. RCC board member Jim McCaskill attributes this to the improvement of RCC’s partnership with the school system.
“Last year we didn’t really have a good picture of what this partnership was going to look like,” McCaskill said. “What we wanted to see was a connection between the college and high school so that every student sees a pathway to continue on to an associate or four-year degree, or choose a technical path that will enable them to earn a living and provide for their families.”