VU/Center Grove Early College partnership exhibits learning success, life enrichment

GREENWOOD, Ind. (July 11, 2017) – The Vincennes University Early College and Career & Technical Education programs have fostered a wealth of success stories over the past decade, and one of the most prolific of all sites throughout the system has been Center Grove Early College.

Center Grove recently saw 78 seniors receive a VU associate’s degree or certificates signifying 30 credits earned. It was the largest group in the program’s history to garner those honors. The Center Grove graduates included 28 receiving associate’s degrees in general studies and one student receiving an associate’s degree in information technology. Ten students graduated with honors.

The Early College High School concept is a bold approach based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. VU has utilized that approach to establish 10 traditional early college and 11 career center-based learning programs since signing on with Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township to found flagship program Ben Davis University Early College in 2007.

The success of Early College programs is undeniable. According to Jobs for the Future, Early College high schools have a significantly higher graduation rate than the national average of approximately 72 percent. VU’s Early Colleges share in that success. For example, Ben Davis University Early College has graduated 100 percent of its students each year since 2011.

While the goals and rigor are consistent, the structure of the Early College model can be customized to fit the needs of a school corporation and its students. Currently, Vincennes University includes stand-alone Early College high school models, an early college within a high school model, a model in which the entire high school converts to an early college and the career and technical education model.

The Early College program at Center Grove has been a stellar representation of VU’s foundational dual-credit philosophy since the Johnson County-based school’s Early College program began with a small cohort of students who graduated in 2011.

“We didn’t have any graduates with an associate’s degree until the spring of 2013, when our first three students received their A.S. degrees,” said Center Grove Early College Site Coordinator Kim Rodgers-Weeks, who works under the auspices of VU Assistant Dean Andrew Findlay. “(since then) our seniors have earned a combined 4,803 college credits that are now transferable to other universities.

“Our students that recently graduated will be attending schools across the state and country next fall,” she added.

Destination higher-education locales for the Center Grove Early College participants include Indiana University, Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis, Purdue University at West Lafayette, Ball State University, University of Indianapolis, Marian University, Hanover College, Asbury University, Taylor University, Indiana Wesleyan and the University of South Carolina.

“One of our 30-credit certificate earners will be playing football for the University of Louisville next fall,” Rodgers-Weeks noted. “Another, who earned the Statewide Transfer General Education Core 30-credit certificate will be playing football for the United States Air Force Academy.”

As a small learning community within a much larger school, Center Grove’s program differs from self-contained early colleges.

“Our students take the majority of their courses within the small learning community, but also take some classes outside of the program,” Rodgers-Weeks said. “Our students are active in many of the high school activities that are offered at Center Grove High School.”

Center Grove Early College students have participated in programs and extracurricular activities such as:

  • Student Council,
  • Robotics Club,
  • Varsity sports (track, cross country, golf, football, volleyball, tennis, dance, cheerleading, baseball, softball and basketball),
  • The school’s nationally-ranked ultimate flying disc club, and
  • Club lacrosse.

In addition, early college students help comprise Center Grove’s national champion girls show choir and the national runner-up mixed show choir. The Marching Trojans Band and orchestra, indoor percussion and color guard hold early college student-members as well.

“These are all very time-intensive, extracurricular programs,” Rodgers-Weeks said. “Our early college students juggle their college course work with the demands of these activities very well.”

Beyond the classroom and lab settings, Center Grove’s early college students have also served the community, via the direction of English 101 teacher Lesley McDougal. McDougal and her students established the Center Grove Early College "Genius Hour" community project, and the initiative inspired several pupils to launch a summer camp for adults and teens with disabilities dubbed Camp Reach. The young people’ diligence stretched all the way to generating funds for operational costs of the camp.

“They have operated this camp for two summers with great success,” Rodgers-Weeks said, adding, “Several of our students are in a vocal group, Shaboom, that recently put on a concert to raise funds to cover the cost of Camp Reach. They recently raised around 3-thousand dollars for the program.”

The academic, extracurricular and community service pursuits have helped the Center Grove program build on its foundation and cement itself as highly regarded avenue for quality learning while providing an affordable and enriching start on post-secondary education. Rodgers-Weeks pointed out that the program has emerged from being a concept constantly needing explanation in the community to being on the radar screen of more and more students and their families.

“When Center Grove began its collaboration with Vincennes University, the community as a whole didn’t really understand what early college was all about,” she added. “With the success of our program, it now has a waiting list of eligible students that wish to join.”

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The Early College Philosophy

For every 100 low-income students who start high school, only 65 earn a high school diploma and only 45 will enroll in college. Only 11 will complete a postsecondary degree. High school graduates from poor families who score in the top testing quartile are no more likely than their lowest-scoring, affluent peers to attend college. The former enroll at rates of 78%; the latter at 77%.

The Early College model helps address these dismal numbers. It is centered on developing the opportunity to:

  • increase high school graduation rates and post-secondary entrance and completion rates,
  • remove major barriers to post-secondary access, and
  • ease the transition from high school to college.

Early college successes

The success of Early College programs is undeniable. According to Jobs for the Future, Early College high schools have a significantly higher graduation rate than the national average of approximately 72%.  VU’s Early Colleges share in this success; notably, Ben Davis University High School has graduated 100 % of its students every year since 2011.  And, the success of VU’s Early Colleges is especially noteworthy when considering the student population served: low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and young people underrepresented in higher education.

Early College Savings

Early College high schools save considerable costs for the State of Indiana and students. Studies indicate that Early Colleges are a cost-effective way for states to improve college completion. In addition to decreased textbook costs, Early College students attain transferable credit at a fraction of the cost they would have paid at traditional public colleges in Indiana. Most importantly, students leave Early College programs with no debt.

The Early College Models

While the goals and rigor are consistent, the structure of the Early College model can be customized to the needs of a school corporation and its students. Currently, Vincennes University include stand-alone early college high schools models, an early college within a school model, a model in which the entire high school converts to an early college, and the career and technical early college model.

 

 

 

The following is a link to "Online College for High School" content found on the VU Distance Education web site: https://my.vinu.edu/web/distance-education/online-college-for-high-school-program

This page includes the Online College for High School Course Request Form in the "Quick Links" section.

 

 

Early College Site Contacts

 

Dual Credit Home Office

Heather Moffat, Sr. Director of Dual Credit Partnerships.....................................................812-888-4120

Dr. Nicole Shankle, Dean of Early College...................................................................... 812-888-4182

Troy Guthrie, CTE Communications Coordinator...............................................................812-888-4535

Kasey Miles, Dual Credit Program Coordinator................................................................812-888-5132

Amy Coots, Dual Credit Quality Assurance Coordinator................................................... 812-888-4086

Angela Rogers, Early College Office Coordinator............................................................812-888-4459

Becky Ice, Project EXCEL Office Manager..................................................................... 812-888-4344

Bethany Keller, Project EXCEL Office Coordinator...........................................................812-888-4844

 

Ben Davis University

  • Assistant Dean, Tieree Reid.............................................................................. 317-988-7861
  • Coordinator, Tracey Hart....................................................................................317-988-7865
  • Secretary, Brenda Yantis................................................................................... 317-988-7862

Center Grove Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Andrew Findlay........................................................................ 317-881-0581 ext. 4423
  • Coordinator, Kim Rodgers-Weeks...................................................................... 317-881-0581 ext. 4156
  • Secretary, Lorie Teike....................................................................................... 317-881-0581 ext. 4447

East Allen University

  • Assistant Dean, Odelet Nance........................................................................... 260-446-0240 ext. 7502
  • Secretary, Ashley Perkins................................................................................. 260-446-0240 ext. 7504

Lawrenceburg Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Tonya Mathis........................................................................... 812-532-3308
  • Secretary, Bonnie Kort-Teaney.......................................................................... 812-532-3328

North Side High School Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Odelet Nance........................................................................... 260-446-0240 ext. 7502
  • Director, Glenda Ervins..................................................................................... 260-446-0240 ext. 7503
  • Secretary, Ashley Perkins................................................................................. 260-446-0240 ext. 7504

North White
Assistant Dean, Ron Dow...........................................................................................317-258-8920

 

Perry Meridian High School Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Andrew Findlay........................................................................ 317-881-0581 ext, 4423


Tippecanoe School Corpration/Wildcat Creek

  • Assistant Dean, Ron Dow..................................................................................317-258-8920

Vincennes Lincoln High School Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Tim Bauer................................................................................ 812-330-7730
  • Coordinator, Karisa Bauer................................................................................... 812-882-6053

Wabash City Schools

  • Assistant Dean, Jennifer Hughes....................................................................... 260-563-7481 ext. 1255

Washington High School Early College

  • Assistant Dean, Tim Bauer                                                                         812-330-7730 ext. 42508
  • Coordinator, Dana Arvin.................................................................................... 812-254-8352 ext. 275

Area 30 Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Michael Woods........................................................................ 765-653-3515

Area 31 Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Tieree Reid.............................................................................. 317-988-7861
  • Director, Ieshia Webster-Harris.......................................................................... 317-988-7262

Central 9 Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Andrew Findlay........................................................................ 317-881-0581 ext. 4423
  • Director, Kristin Conley.....................................................................................  317-888-4401

Elkhart Area Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Michael Hepner......................................................................  574-262-5650

Hammond Career Center (ACCU)

  • Assistant Dean, Angela Watson......................................................................... 219-933-2428 ext. 2038
  • Secretary, Melissa Benavidez............................................................................ 219-933-2428 ext. 2032

Heartland Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Jennifer Hughes....................................................................... 260.563.7481 ext. 1255

Hoosier Hills Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Tim Bauer................................................................................ 812-330-7730 ext. 42508

McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology

  • Assistant Dean, Brent Stocksdale...................................................................... 317-964-8036

New Palestine High School
Assistant Dean, Brent Stocksdale...................................................................... 317-964-8036

 

Porter County Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Angela Watson......................................................................... 219-933-2428 ext. 2038
  • Director, Kendall Martin..................................................................................... 219-531-3170

Prosser Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Stanley Wheeler....................................................................... 812-981-7680

River Forest – TBD

 

Southeastern Career Center

  • Assistant Dean, Tonya Mathis........................................................................... 812-532-3308
  • Director, Karen O'Neal.......................................................................812-689-5253, ext. 247