18:00 PM

Orientation begins for Columbus Seniors to Sophomores program

A group of Columbus City Schools (CCS) students will be preparing to complete their senior year requirements in high school – and their freshman year in college – in a special orientation program next week for the state's new Seniors to Sophomores program. The orientation program incorporates many Ohio State tools to help transition students from high school to successful college students.

The program answers the challenge from Governor Strickland to create more dual enrollment options for high school students. Working with six area higher education institutions, CCS won a $97,000 state grant to be an "early adopter" of the program.

The week-long orientation program, which takes place at Columbus State, includes four days of workshops and one day visiting the higher education institution they'll be attending. During the sessions, students will learn how expectations for things like attendance and academic performance differ between high school and college. Workshops include a session on study skills using the strategies developed by Bruce Tuckman, professor of education at Ohio State, and an interactive science session with Ohio State graduate students from the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.

The 25 CCS students in the Seniors to Sophomores program come from 10 area high schools. They will attend six area institutions full time during their senior year while also completing the courses required for high school graduation. The participating institutions are Ohio State, Ohio University at Pickerington, Ohio Dominican, Franklin, Columbus State and Capital.

Each of the institutions is a member of the Columbus City Schools Higher Education Partnership, a coalition formed in 2002 to improve access, retention and competition of postsecondary education for CCS students. The group of partners includes eight area institutions. The CCS proposal is supported by Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee, as well as leaders of the other partner institutions.

On Wednesday (8/6), parents will attend an orientation dinner with Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, CCS Superintendent Gene Harris, and Capital University President Denvy A. Bowman.

Historically, a number of programs have enabled high school students to take college courses during their senior year. Last year, 2,000 CCS students earned college credits through a variety of post-secondary enrollment options at seven area colleges. The new Seniors to Sophomores program goes beyond traditional offerings of a single class or two to full-time college enrollment.

Participating students are choosing to skip their senior year in high school to advance a year in college. For the three students attending Ohio State, it means classes begin Sept. 24 instead of Aug. 27.

"The idea of the orientation is to create a bridge and improve the process of transitioning so these students can be successful in college," said Nancy Nestor-Baker, director of Ohio State's P-12 program and partnership liaison.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the students to earn a year of college credit at no tuition cost, and for us to work on curriculum alignment between P-12 education and colleges in Ohio."