Getting A Degree Before Graduation?

Dylan Antonelli, Writer

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Last week,  at Lacey Township High School, Superintendent Craig Wigley was proud to announce that as part of a partnership with Ocean County College, a new program called the Ocean County Academy. The program was described as being one that would allow students to still meet their high school requirements, but also gain some college experience as well, a truly unique program that is also the first of it’s kind.

Alongside Wigley was principal Brandis, who was clearly thrilled about the program, “It’s a great experience for your children, Lacey is leading the way for 21st century education. But most importantly, it is not about the high school, it is about your children.”

Brandis went on to explain that starting with the class of 2019, the program will expand from 18 credits to 64 credits for both juniors and seniors, in addition to a associate’s degree of Liberal Arts. Juniors will be able to earn 30, credits, while seniors will receive 34 credits. However, Juniors that take the program in their senior year as well will have the opportunity to earn those 64 credits. In addition, they will be able to walk across the stage at OCC before they earn their high school diploma.

All classes will count toward high school graduation and college credits, as part of a dual enrollment. Juniors would be taking these dual enrollment classes from periods 1-4, with different classes in the fall and spring taught by an instructor. such as computer literacy in the fall by  and integrated office software in the spring. A first year experience with Mrs. Stanislowski in the fall, hospitality in the spring, and more. Seniors would also see a dual enrollment for periods 1-3, with subjects such as English, math, and a possible science class for period 3. In addition, periods 4-5 would also see an actual OCC class, such as one for a social science requirement in the fall and spring, and a humanities requirement as well.

Not only that, but buses would also be taking students to OCC to get an experience on campus, along with actually teachers by the high school who were approved by OCC, including Mrs. Stanislowski, who already teaches at OCC.

The Liberal Arts degree itself also carries many benefits, such as big savings depending on which college they go to. For example, up to $2,652 at OCC, $13,512 at Stockton $15,792, for Rowan, NJIT: $25,092, and $54,252 at monmouth. “That’s just tuition” Brandis added, “that’s not counting things like food board, and everything else they would need if they were going to a four-year college.”

Later in the presentation, Dr. Jackson, who is the director of academic success at OCC, also pointed out that any credits that students who also receive all the 64 credits, can transfer those credits to a New Jersey state school, whether it’s schools such as Monmouth, Rutgers, Montclair, and the school has to accept those credits by law, “That’s not me saying that.” Jackson explained, “that is by the law of this state.”

Parents and students who are interested in the program can find more information available on the Lacey Township High School’s website. However, there are of course requirements that students must meet. For example, seniors must already meet the standardized test requirements for OCC, (SAT, Accuplacer, and PSAT). Juniors do not need to meet these requirements. In addition, seniors must already have 110 credits, while juniors need 70 credits. Both Seniors and Juniors must have no grade lower than a C. Even if a senior does not meet the requirements for the Associates degree, they can still take Junior level classes since Junior level courses are already available to both seniors and juniors.

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