From The Record Delta
Article and Photo By: Tara Kennedy, The Record Delta Staff Writer
BUCKHANNON — A new partnership forged with Glenville State College promises to provide Buckhannon-Upshur High School students with a head-start over their peers.
A Memorandum of Understanding between Upshur County Schools and GSC was officially announced and signed on Thursday at B-UHS. The document, entitled “Home Grown Teachers”, outlines a solution regarding the concerns surrounding the teacher shortage in West Virginia.
The Memorandum of Understanding states: “To promote teacher education enrollment, retention, and career opportunity in critical teacher shortage areas in the state of West Virginia, strengthen connections and linkages, and to broaden P-16 student experience and horizons, Glenville State College and the Upshur County School district proposes to foster positive and supportive collaboration.”
The second component of the partnership involves an opportunity for B-UHS students to earn dual credit while in high school toward an Associate degree from GSC, conferred upon graduation. This is also the most affordable option to earn college credits that has ever been offered. Students who qualify for the Pell Grant can get the courses for free.
B-UHS sophomores and juniors convened in the auditorium to observe the document signing and learn more about these exciting opportunities they can take advantage of through the new partnership. Counselor Katie Yeager will be the liaison between the schools and point of contact for interested students. She said 9th and 10th graders will be offered a field trip to GSC on April 9 for further exploration.
Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus told the audience, “We have the best students in the state of West Virginia right here at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. We believe that if you want to go to college, it should not be expensive. Anyone here who wants to go to college, you should be able to do that without any worry. We want to clear that pathway and want to say that we are here standing beside you, helping you all the way.”
In a nutshell, eligible B-UHS students interested in pursuing a college degree can enroll in the Dual Enrollment Program and earn credits for college at the same time they are earning high school credits during their junior and senior years. Upon graduation from B-UHS, they will have also earned an Associate degree from GSC.
Dr. Debra Harrison told the students, “You can walk away from high school with two years of college under your belt and then you would only have two additional years to finish. That’s going to allow you to go into the world of work two years before any of your peers will be able to do that and it’s also going to save your parents a lot of money.” She added, “This will be an unbelievable opportunity for you and will provide you an advantage that most young folks your age in the state of West Virginia will not have.”
Ideally, the Dual Enrollment Program will coincide with the Home Grown Teacher Scholarship Program for students who want to become teachers as well. Dr. Jeff Hunter, Chair of GSC’s education department, explained that the Home Grown Teacher scholarship program is very simple. Essentially, anyone from school personnel can refer their students who have a 3.0 GPA and desire to be a teacher to the program. He said, “This program provides a guaranteed $3,000 scholarship if they are committing to teach subjects like science, biology, chemistry, math or special education, which are high needs areas in West Virginia.” Students are then brought back to their home school for their field training and will hopefully be able to work their way into available teaching jobs in their home county.
If you or your student want to learn more about this exciting program, please contact B-UHS Counselor Katie Yeager. GSC Off Campus Programs Coordinator Rachel Adams can also be contacted at 304-462-6128 or call Program Counselor Rachel Clutter at 304-462-6129. Additional information is also available online at www.glenville.edu or www.facebook.com/gscdualenroll.