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Advanced Diploma an option at CCHS

The 2013 seniors have the opportunity to earn a free year of college

by: RAMONA MCCALLISTER/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Crook County High School Commons area displays names of former CCHS graduates and their post-secondary institutions attended for college. The wall is intended as an inspiration for the current students at CCHS.

Some big changes are transpiring this year at Crook County High School, and seniors and parents can embrace the opportunity to earn a free year of college after graduation.
   Crook County High School Principal Rocky Miner said Wednesday that he is excited about being able to offer the Advanced Diploma for this year’s seniors. Seniors graduating in 2013 will have the opportunity to attend and earn their first year of college free, while remaining a student of Crook County High School for the 2013/2014 school year. The students choose from one of five participating Oregon Community Colleges. The list of colleges includes Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Portland Community College, Lane Community College, and Linn Benton Community College.
   “I think it’s an excellent opportunity for our students to open the door of the possibility of college for more of our students, and maybe even some students who really didn’t think they would ever have that chance,” said Miner.
   Miner added that the students who take advantage of the Advanced Diploma program will walk with their class. They come the following year as a CCHS student. Even though they have earned their diploma at the end of the school year, they don’t receive it in hand until the end of their year in college.
   “By coming back, the ADM (average daily membership) the school gets allows us to pay for one year of tuition and books at a community college in Oregon,” commented Miner in an earlier interview.
   The Advanced Diploma program has also been piloted by Redmond High School in partnership with COCC, and it was established with Senate Bill 300 in 2005. Crook County has used the model of the Redmond High School Advanced Diploma Program, which is one of only a couple of programs in Oregon.
   In order to qualify for the program, students must earn a standard or University Diploma in 2013, and they must take their classes through the college of their choice in consecutive terms. Students must take a minimum of nine credits per term for three consecutive terms. The tuition pays for classes and books only. Crook County High School will make the final decision on a student’s initial and continued eligibility in the Advanced Diploma program. Altogether, students must complete 27 credits at the community college of their choice (that qualifies). The program is for one year, and must be executed the following fall after the student graduates.
    “We will be facilitating it through the Future Center,” said Becky Munn, college readiness coordinator for CCHS. She said that she and the other coordinator, Kate Worthing, will be helping students and parents through the process. The 2013 graduating seniors will work with their college advisor for course work
   “We just track them through here, that they are following all the guidelines and the appropriate amount of credits and grades and everything they need to stay eligible for the program,” said Munn.
   Worthing said the students will have information go out in February, and there will be an information meeting in March before students sign up. Because it is the first year, she and Munn are trying to keep a good line of communication open to keep parents and students informed and abreast of information as they have it. Both coordinators also emphasized that the seniors didn’t have to make a commitment until they signed up later in the year.
   “I think a lot of families are going to be excited about this,” said Duane Yecha, superintendent of Crook County Schools.