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Mon Schools signs partnership with Pierpont Community and Technical College

Two signatures equal 100 students.

And, that many jumpstarted careers, administrators with Monongalia County Schools and Pierpont Community and Technical College said Monday morning.

The partnership now made official with that signing ceremony in the district office will enable Mon students who qualify to graduate with both a high school diploma — and a two-year associate degree from the college in Fairmont.

Pierpont has long been in the dual-degree business, said Kathleen Nelson, who is interim president of the school.

“One Walk — Two Degrees,” is the official name of her institution’s new endeavor, which has been retooled to fit Pierpont’s secondary school outreach, Nelson said.

The program is a key cog in the Pierpont College Academy, which also is newly established.

“More educational opportunity for West Virginia’s students is critical for both the personal growth of our students and the strengthening of our communities and economy,” the president said.

Now, the recruiting begins, Campbell said.

The idea, he said, is to establish that 100-student cohort — mostly freshmen and some sophomores, he said — so they can take full advantage of the new offering.

“This a game-changer,” he said.

“Can you imagine being a high school senior having already graduated with a college degree? And this is a degree, from an accredited institution, that’s yours — no matter where your life and academics take you.”

College-level courses will be interwoven with Mon’s academic offerings at a cost of $25 per course credit, Pierpont’s Joni Gray told Board of Education members earlier.

Right now, the program offers a general liberal studies degree, along with a health career track and an American Sign Language track, said Gray, who handles transitional educational efforts for Pierpont.

The introductory courses in English literature, American government, U.S. history and the sciences are the same in which a college freshmen would enroll during his first semesters on campus.

“This isn’t just a handful of college courses,” she said. “This is a clear, complete pathway to a degree, conferred.”

Students will begin walking that pathway this coming fall, Campbell said.

“We’re excited for our freshmen, and we know we can get our 10th graders caught up quick,” the superintendent said.

“It was good to formalize the partnership,” he said. “We appreciate Pierpont. We’re ready to go.”

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