Panther College Academy planned

Pending the Russellville Board of Education approval, next year’s seniors at Russellville Junior/Senior High School will have the opportunity to not only earn multiple college credits but to also attend those classes on a college campus.

Members of the RJSHS Class of 2016-17, who choose to enroll in the Panther College Academy and who qualify academically, will be transported to the Franklin Center of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College. SKYCTC students work toward Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Junior College degrees that transfer to WKU or any other state university in Kentucky. Even if the student transfers before completing an Associate’s Degree, these General Education courses will transfer to state schools.

Tuition for two years at SKYCTC costs less than one year at WKU. RJSHS Principal, Kim McDaniel, emailed current junior students and their parents explaining this concept and also sent a copy of the registration form for the Panther College Academy. A parent meeting for more information about the Panther College Academy was held and applications were due Friday, April 15. The SBDM Council has already established the following criteria for the Panther College Academy (pending Board approval): students must acquire the Kentucky ACT Benchmarks and/or the equivalents in order to be declared college ready for this program; students must complete this school year with a 3.75 GPA or higher; students must complete the application process, including the essay; and students must obtain 3 teacher recommendations as a part of their application process (two of the three must be from current core teachers—math, science, social studies, and language arts). The main purpose of this Academy is to allow academically-minded seniors an opportunity to begin their college careers earlier than normal while also completing requirements for their high school diploma.

Currently, we are hopeful that our students will be allowed to take up to 3 dual-credit courses per semester. Special permission will need to be obtained for three classes per semester, considering the guidelines that we have established for admittance. It is highly likely, however, that students will only take 2 classes each semester. Either of these choices is a great opportunity for our students, and we feel we should continue to pursue. Currently, our basic plan is to transport our PCA students to the SKYCTC Franklin Campus at least two days per week. Should our students be able to take up to 3 courses in one semester, transportation may become four days per week.

PCA students would not be required to attend RJSHS on Friday unless there is some special circumstance. Based upon the individual needs, some students may also qualify to leave before the end of the day. For example, if a student needs a course for graduation that is not offered at SKYCTC, then that student would need to make arrangements to take that course on campus. Once we have finalized a schedule, we will know more about the individual specifics. SKYCTC requires that students meet the KY Benchmarks on their ACT Exams to apply for this dual credit program. Those benchmarks are as follows: English—18, Math—19, and Reading—20. These are also the required scores for admittance into the PCA. However, in order to take the Math 150 College Algebra course, SKYCTC requires an ACT score of 22 in math. If there is not a scored 22 on math, a student will be able to go with other students to the SKYCTC Franklin Campus to take the equivalent placement COMPASS Exam on Friday, April 22.

A score of 50 or higher will allow one to take the Math 150 course. If a student scores within a few points of the required 50, SKYCTC will allow them to enroll in the Math 150 course as long as they also sign up for the Math 96 supplemental course which is an hour-long class offered immediately before the Math 150 course. Keeping in mind that a score of 36 must be made on the COMPASS math test in order to be declared college ready for Kentucky, this will allow a student to be admitted to the PCA provided they meet all other requirements. If a student has met the math benchmark and only missed the benchmark in English or Reading, they will be allowed to travel with the group that day to take only the COMPASS test for the subject needed.

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