KINGWOOD — More than 50 people attended a meeting at the Preston High School Theater Wednesday evening to learn more about a new dual graduation program that will be offered this fall.
The meeting was held to discuss a memorandum of understanding that was signed by Preston County Schools and Pierpont Community and Technical Collage that will allow students to earn an associate degree while also earning their high school Diploma through a program called One Walk — Two Degrees.
The program allows students who enroll to take classes that count for both high school and college credits. The cost — $25 per credit hour, about $1,500 for the associate degree — is a savings over the normal cost of college. Books or other materials will be a separate cost, according to Joni Gray, Transitions Education specialist with Pierpont Community and Technical College.
The classes will be taught by high school teachers at the student’s home school. Some county teachers already meet the requirements to be certified college instructors. They will not receive additional pay because the instruction is during their normal work day. Some courses may also have an online
PHS Principal Todd Seymour said freshman and sophomore level courses will be offered this fall at PHS with other offerings added as time goes on. If students have already completed AP courses, Pierpont will see how those can fit into the pathway for the associate degree.
“We feel quite confident that there are qualified individuals who are already in house at our high schools and in our partner counties, and our goal is to utilize their expertise and their talent initially. And then, if we aren’t able to have them as a resource, then our Pierpont faculty will be offering the courses,” said Gray, who directs the program and did the curriculum mapping for it.
She said since students can’t be bused from PHS to the Pierpont campus, some classes could be attended online, streamed, or the student can go to Morgantown campus for the in-person class.
Earlier, Kathleen Nelson, interim president at Pierpont, said the program allows students to really get that step up into higher education, and they are able to transfer that degree into anywhere. They could go to any four-year institution, if they like. They can come back to Pierpont and do a technical degree and have all that general education done. It’s a good opportunity for students to step into higher ed.
Preston is one of 13 counties Pierpont is in the process of entering into the agreement with. Preston was the sixth county to sign onto the program.
For more information about the One Walk — Two Degrees program, call304-367-4907 or go to pierpont.edu