Northmont offers students head start to college


By Marilyn McConahay - Contributing writer



ENGLEWOOD – During a short meeting of the Northmont School Board, held Feb. 12 at the Kleptz Early Learning Center, Superintendent Tony Thomas included in his usual report a mention of the district’s participation in the College Credit Plus program.

“The CCP is a program through the State of Ohio where students can take college level classes while still in high school. At Northmont, we want our kids to have a college experience, so we are very aggressive at working with our teachers to get their credentials so that students can stay at Northmont High School and take their college credits with them,” said Thomas.

He said about 13 classes are available, including English composition, Spanish, psychology, world history, calculus and statistics. There is another option where they can take advanced placement,” Thomas said.

“I basically think that students get most of their credits from Sinclair. They are transferable by law in all state colleges in Ohio. For us, it is Sinclair – it depends on where you are. If you were in Greenville, it would be Edison State,” he said.

“Parents must attend meetings ahead of time that are mandatory, and those meetings were posted on our Web site to make sure that people knew those dates,” said Public Information Officer Jenny Wood.

“The students do need to take a placement test at Sinclair to be eligible, so that’s what these meetings are about,” Thomas said.

“These meetings are also on our school calendar at www.northmontschools.net,” said Wood.

“With all these classes we’re talking about, the students don’t have to leave the high school. We offer them certified teachers,” Thomas said. “There are other options. They can go to Sinclair for CCP, but we try to do it by offering as many classes as possible right here, and I would be like to think we offer more than anyone in the area. When there was grant money available, we jumped on that to help teachers get certified.”

Students can get started at seventh grade level, but few students are ready at the seventh-grade level, so that is very rare, he said.

“It’s more upperclassmen — my son took his first one as a sophomore,” Thomas said.

Wood said that last year, the schools had two students that received degrees the same time as they got their high school degrees.

“When students enroll at college, they can pull up a page at a state college and they can see for their major what classes replace what classes they need to take for college requirements. I just saw my son, a student here, do it a few nights ago,” Thomas said.

He said the controversial part of it is, it’s not free.

“It does come out of the local school’s budget. It’s being paid for, but it’s paid for out of our budget. But, to the parents, it’s free,” Thomas said. “It’s a big savings; it’s a lot of money.”

But it’s well-worth it to the schools.

“It gets the students exposure to a college level course and that’s important,” Thomas said.

That other option is advanced placement classes.

“Any student can take them, but in order to earn college credits, they have to take an exam at the end of year, and it is based on what score the college will accept. A lot of the students do that — my son has taken a lot of them, too,” he said. “The disadvantage of that is you don’t have the uniformity of the universities, and the fact that they do have to pay for the test.”

A downside is if a student doesn’t pass a class, he or she is in jeopardy of being removed from the program.

“Anywhere along, if they don’t pass, they would be responsible for the tuition, as well. That is up to Sinclair; it’s not really up to us. Still, it’s a great opportunity for kids to take a highly rigorous class to prepare for college,” Thomas said.

For more information on the College Credit Plus program, call the schools at 832-5000.

Thomas also reminded Northmont residents they are urged to attend two remaining Community Forums to participate in conversations regarding current and future facility needs in order to develop a focused, shared facilities plan for the school district.

The next facilities Forum is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. on March 19 at the Kleptz Early Learning Center dining room, located at 1100 National Road. Sign-in begins at 6 p.m. The last forum is scheduled for April 15 at the same time and location.

By Marilyn McConahay

Contributing writer

Reach this writer by calling 937-620-4044, or by e-mail at merlinmomcat@yahoo.com.

Reach this writer by calling 937-620-4044, or by e-mail at merlinmomcat@yahoo.com.