Area high school students have the chance to jump start their college career in the Early College High School Program. —Photo by Danae Moore

Jan 4, 2019

Panhandle State Communications

Innovative Opportunity for Panhandle High School Students

Goodwell, Okla. — With fall classes wrapping up and the anticipation of the holidays building, December was a month full of excitement, and this December was certainly not any different. Not only did it bring the end of the fall semester, but also the conclusion of the first semester of the Early College High School Dual Credit Program (ECHS) at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Panhandle State Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Julie Dinger commented, “This pilot program is a great partnership between OPSU and our area high schools. We have always had great concurrent enrollment experiences for high school students, but now we can be truly innovative and provide a full collegiate experience, while still allowing time in their schedule to participate in an extracurricular activity. This ability to have a complete high school and college experience really sets us apart from other Early College programs.”

In addition to the concurrent classes currently offered for high school students, ECHS gives Panhandle State the opportunity to give the right brand of students the chance to graduate from high school with a college degree. The program provides extremely cost effective advanced learning opportunities for high school students from Goodwell, Okla.; Guymon, Okla.; and Hooker, Okla.

Beginning the sophomore year of high school, qualifying students will begin college coursework while still having a complete high school experience. Upon graduation, students attain an Associate of Science in General Studies with concentrations available in Education, STEM, and Business fields.

As a sophomore, students take classes at their respective high school campus. The next two years consist of both online courses and classes at the Panhandle State campus in Goodwell. Students in the program take classes in the fall and spring semesters as well as summer courses.

Qualification is granted upon scoring in the 50th percentile on the ACT and recommendation of the high school counselor.

Assistant Director of Admissions Karina Jauregui commented, “One of the best things we can do for our community and the younger generations is give them an educational opportunity that was not previously available. These qualifying students have the chance to earn an Associate’s degree while also earning their High School diploma, which will set them up for success. It is a challenging program that allows students to earn a degree that may have not been possible otherwise.”

This fall saw 23 students enrolled in the program.

Dean of Business and Technology Davin Winger traveled to Hooker to teach a course on microeconomics two days a week. He commented, “It’s been a blessing to get to know the Hooker High School students, and be with them on this Early College High School journey. It has been exciting to watch them grow. We were all a little nervous the first day of class. They worked hard all semester and gained confidence in themselves and their abilities. I’m proud of the work they have done, and the courage they have shown in taking advantage of this opportunity.”

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