2011-09-23 / Community

Scholars’ Kids Ready Themselves For College

By Nicholas Briano


Scholars’ Academy now partners with St. Francis College. Scholars’ Academy now partners with St. Francis College. The students at Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park are receiving a unique opportunity to take college courses in high school, receive a letter grade and earn up to an entire semester’s worth of credits before ever stepping foot into college.

That’s what Brooklyn-based St. Francis College is giving to the students at Scholars’. In its second year, the program offers students a chance to knock out some of those core curriculum classes and even a few electives on the side before they graduate from high school. The students receive letter grades and are given a transcript with those grades from St. Francis College. Those students can then take those credits to either St. Francis and continue studies there or transfer them to a school of their choice. Students who participate in a course also get access to the college’s library and research resources through the St. Francis College on-line portal.

“These are typical entry level freshman courses,” Dean of Academic Program Development Allen Burdowski said. “We work closely with Scholars’ and the teachers are from there. We provide the curriculum and meet with them regularly.”

“By bringing the college right to them, the students see an immediate benefit, in earning college credits and by saving money while doing it.

All students in this program are taking valuable steps towards improving their chances of going to college and ultimately obtaining a college degree,” he continued.

Principal Brian O’Connell says the program is a great preparation tool for college.

“They learn independence and what’s expected on them in college,” he said. “A phenomenal program for parents and students.”

O’Connell says one of his students last year took 21 credits with him to college, an opportunity few schools could present. The classes offered at Scholars’ cost more than one-third less than typ- ical credits offered at St. Francis College.

“These students are receiving an actual college grade that goes on their transcript,” Burdowski said. “Many kids are taking advantage of this.”

The courses are available to eligible juniors and seniors. According to Assistant Principal Michele Smyth, who is in charge of high school planning and college readiness, most of the courses available will offer students the option of either enrolling with St. Francis or taking the class as a traditional advanced placement course where students take a test at the end of the course in order to receive college credits.

“We align the St. Francis curriculum with the advanced placement standards,” Smyth said. “Therefore students have the opportunity to earn [credit] through St. Francis or through traditional advanced placement.”

Scholars’ is offering ten classes through St. Francis, eight of which are eligible for advanced placement credits in lieu of signing on with St. Francis.

Smythe says approximately 25 percent of the students in the classes opted to take the credits with St. Francis, which on average costs $113 more than the advanced placement course.

An advanced placement exam costs $87 for each class, with St. Francis credits averaging $200 for a three-credit class; a large discount over the school’s typical pricing.

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In other words they are not

In other words they are not finishing their last year of high school. This is telling the kids that education is just a commodity. Colleges in the country are sinking to new levels along with "distance learning"


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