Thanks to a partnership between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College-Longview, and the University of Central Missouri, local high school students will have the chance to earn college credit at little to no cost during the 2018-19 school year.
The Lee’s Summit school board approved the “Innovation Track” program Dec. 14 at a regular meeting.
The program, according to the school district, will allow high school juniors and seniors to earn up to 30 hours of college credit “at limited or no cost to the students’ families” by offering scholarships to qualifying students.
According to the school district, the program is designed to give high school students the opportunity to get a head start on their college career by taking college-level classes while in high school.
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Students can take those college credits with them if they attend Metropolitan Community College or Central Missouri, but the district said the credits also should transfer over “to virtually any public post-secondary institution” in the state.
The school district said the program hopes to attract students who aren’t currently enrolled in other dual-credit options, like International Baccalaureate or A+ programs.
High school students interested in enrolling in the program must have a grade-point average of 2.5 or better in high school and have scored an 18 or higher on the ACT.
The school board also approved district funding for students who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program to participate in Innovation Track as well as other dual-credit courses, including International Baccalaureate courses and exams.
The school board approved the following expenditures for the 2018-19 school year:
▪ $167,107 for the Innovation Track program, including scholarships for tuition and textbook costs for qualifying students, a full-time R-7 staff member to be housed at the Metropolitan Community College-Longview campus, and student transportation from home schools to the Longview campus.
▪ $200,595 to begin partially funding non-Metropolitan Community College dual-credit classes for students qualifying for the scholarships.
▪ An estimated $28,700 to begin partially funding International Baccalaureate exams for students qualifying for scholarships.
Other students in the Innovation Track program who don’t receive scholarships will be expected to pay for their tuition and books; however, the district said Metropolitan Community College was working to extend the dual-credit rate for the program to give students a 50-percent cost reduction.
Before the Innovation Track program can be implemented fully, the plan will be considered next month by the Metropolitan Community College board of trustees, the school district said in a news release.
The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors, Metropolitan Community College, and R-7 schools then will be required to approve a memorandum of understanding for the program.
Current high school sophomore and juniors at Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School, and Lee’s Summit West High School will get to learn more about the Innovation Track program in January 2018.
Enrollment in the program for the 2018-19 school year is expected to take place Feb. 20-22, 2018. The district anticipates up to 200 students will be able to enroll during the first year of the program and possibly more in future years.
For more information about the Innovation Track program, visit the Lee’s Summit School District website.