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NC State and Mansfield City Schools Expand Partnership

Dorey Diab, Cheryl Carter, Renda Cline, Brian Garverick, Robert McQuate

Mansfield, OH - This summer, the Ohio Department of Education awarded an Innovation Grant for two urban high schools to develop closer partnerships with their local Community College. Those awards were given to Marion Technical College to collaborate with Marion City Schools, and Mansfield City Schools to partner more closely with North Central State College.

The proposal submitted, titled “Scaling the Graduate Pathways to Success” (GPS), builds on a model Marion Technical College and Marion City Schools began in 2015. The GPS program allows students to complete an associate degree while also meeting the requirements for high school graduation. It uses the College Credit Plus model for dual enrollment in both high school and college courses, so the students graduate from high school, and receive an associate degree, without incurring college debt.

Participants in the GPS program enter at the end of their 8th grade school year and continue in the program throughout all four years of high school. These educational pathways are aligned with in-demand careers which meet the needs of local employers. The Mansfield City Schools/NC State partnership will begin with a program to meet the growing need for qualified healthcare professionals and/or manufacturing.

“Our goal is to enroll 25 freshmen for the Fall 2018 school year. These students will be the first in Mansfield to embark on their Graduate Pathway to Success,” said Dr. Dorey Diab, president of NC State. “Classes will remain at the high school. In the past, we’ve operated at the Urban Center in downtown Mansfield. We’ve decided to take these classes to the students, instead of them coming to our center.”

Mansfield City Schools Superintendent Brian Garverick said he and Dr. Jose Hernandez, Mansfield Senior High principal, are eager to have students involved in GPS.

“We have students who are ready for this challenge and who will succeed in this program. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to secure a debt-free associate degree before they leave Senior High,” Garverick said.

“This is another outstanding benefit of our continuing partnership with NC State. I look forward to working with our families, Dr. Diab and the college as we help our students along this pathway to success.”

Cheryl Carter, director of the Urban Center and Outreach for NC State, will work with the school staff to identify students in the middle school who are ready to make the most of this opportunity that has many worthwhile rewards. She stated “Imagine having students graduating from high school with an associate degree and job opportunity. That’s a ticket to a meaningful career where they can make a good living; and two years of college credit which will save them thousands of dollars, including if they transfer for an advanced degree. I expect some of these students will do both – go to work at a local hospital and pursue their bachelor’s degrees too.”

Ms. Carter will devote 100% of her time to the school, for the recruitment of GPS students, and helping students throughout Mansfield Senior High explore their options to continue their higher education. While classes will not be delivered at the Urban Center starting Spring of 2018, the college is actively seeking partners who would like to lease and use the Urban Center location for new opportunities.

Diab believes the time is right to make the transition. “Six years ago, our students wanted a place to attend classes, so we opened the Urban Center. Now more students are taking classes online or like these students at Mansfield Senior, taking classes in their high school. NC State College is committed to raising educational attainment in our community. This shift in resources is evidence of that commitment. We’re aligning our resources to meet the changing needs of our students. We’re bringing the college to them because that’s where they’re at. So we need to be there too.”

“We’ve been discussing how to reach more students who could benefit from additional education. This GPS grant from the State of Ohio provides an opportunity to change the way we deliver education. This is another exploration of how we might be more flexible as an institution, and not so reliant on bricks and mortar. We’re changing the way we’re thinking about education because our students are changing the way they’re learning.”

About the Guided Pathways Program

This GPS Program primarily addresses two issues faced by the Marion and Mansfield Communities: low post-secondary degree attainment rate and concerns expressed by employers about a lack of qualified workers. Other problems addressed include poverty and the low academic success rate of economically disadvantaged students. The goal of the project is to recruit 25 students the first year, and 25 additional students each year thereafter while retaining at least 20 of the students from year to year.

This project is a long-term, systematic approach to one of many issues facing our community. Over time, the success of this project will be measured by an improvement in key economic indicators among them: employment, median household income for graduates, the percentage of persons with a post-secondary degree, and high school graduation rates. 




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