On Thursday afternoon, Carl Albert State College (CASC) and Sallisaw High School (SHS) announced a collaboration to provide an innovative classroom where SHS students can take college courses and learn from instructors without leaving their high school campus.
Concurrent education has been around for many years, but its popularity has grown immensely in the last year throughout the state. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education sponsors nine credit hours each year for high school juniors and 18 hours for seniors. This sponsorship covers the cost of college tuition, with the students responsible for the cost of class fees and textbooks.
CASC officials recognize the value concurrent education offers to students in its service territory and has been actively looking for innovative ways to make this education model more accessible and affordable for local students.
CASC recognizes that not all high school students have reliable transportation or the availability to travel to either of CASC’s campuses to take the college classes in person.
The administration of SHS partnered with CASC to create a high-tech classroom on its high school campus that would allow a CASC instructor to come to the high school and teach college classes to its students in person.
The classroom features combined branding of SHS and CASC, with a large display screen, Google Chrome cart of laptop computers, and Zoom technology.
In conjunction with the innovative classroom, area donors have joined the effort to make concurrent education accessible to students who traditionally would not be able to afford a higher education, even with free tuition.
Donors such as Dr. Sinclair Armstrong, Jr. of Armstrong Bank, the Hetherington family, Sallisaw Improvement Corporation, Buddy Spencer of Blue Ribbon Auto, the CASC Foundation, and many others have raised scholarship funds that would cover the cost of course fees for eligible Sequoyah County students who would not be able to enroll concurrently otherwise.
“Our goal is to transform the lives of the students in our area,” Dr. Sinclair Armstrong, Jr. said, “and by helping to offset the financial cost for these high school students who want to take these college classes but cannot afford to, we are doing just that.”
Since the implementation of the new classroom and teaching model, concurrent enrollment at SHS has doubled from last year with each of the four classes offered completely full with an average of 37 students each.
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