For the ambitious and career oriented high school student ECPI is proving to be a beneficial partner in school systems across Virginia. In Richmond, partnerships are booming with ECPI and MCI creating dual enrollment programs with Hermitage Technical Center, Highland Springs Technical Center, Chesterfield Technical Center and a forthcoming partnership with Richmond Technical Center. Each of these centers attracts career-minded students interested in pursuing classes in a particular job related field. “These programs are a result of good working relationships between the college and the school system,” said Mac Beaton, Director of Career and Technical Education for Henrico County Public Schools. “For those kids who may think college isn’t for them, this is an easy transition simultaneously providing a ‘leg up’ upon graduation.” The program fulfills high school curriculum standards and students also receive college credits.
The technical centers attract students from area high schools in each district. In Hermitage and Highland Springs the partnerships provide medical terminology, medical administration systems and pharmacy technician courses. Each course the high school student completes provides three college credits. The program began in the 2009/2010 school year registering forty students with another forty enrolling in the programs for the 2010/2011 school year. “This is a great opportunity for the students,” says Stephanie White, Director of Education with MCI’s Emerywood location, “they are essentially earning college credits at no out of pocket cost.”
The Chesterfield Technical Center partnership provides instruction in criminal justice. ECPI instructor Rick Mormando is a retired School Resource Officer with Chesterfield County Police Department and teaches criminal justice to the one-hundred students enrolled in the program annually. The program launched and resulted in six students enrolled in the ECPI program after high school graduation. Luba Gasparovic is a senior at Godwin High School and through the Hermitage Technical Center has been enrolled in the criminal justice program since her junior year. After high school graduation Luba will begin her studies with ECPI in August to obtain her bachelor’s with twelve credits earned through the dual enrollment program. Comparing the high school and college class experience Luba says she prefers the college instruction as it “allows more freedom where it is up to the student to stay on task.” This change hasn’t been a problem for Luba who aspires to work in forensics upon graduation.
In the fall of 2010 ECPI in Newport News launched a program with Poquoson High School which had been unsuccessful in its search for faculty to teach two career and technical classes. ECPI was able to fill that void by providing instructors in A-plus computer hardware and programming, and electronic systems I.
“The reason behind this was so we can provide a really strong academic program for our students,” said Linda Reviea, the school district’s deputy superintendent of instruction and support services. The coursework is a combination of online and classroom instruction, with a few trips to ECPI’s Newport News facility for students to participate in hands-on labs. Students can earn seven college credits for completing each of the year-long classes.