PRESTONSBURG — Community members arrived on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College Tuesday to celebrate the innaugural class of Floyd County’s Early College Academy.
The program, which partners Floyd County schools with Big Sandy Community and Technical College will take its maiden voyage during the 2012-13 school year. The first year candidates will attend classes at BSCTC while also completing their high school courses.
“This is a very very unique program that were able to launch here with the community college,” said Ted George, director of human resources with Floyd County Schools.
The stated objective of the program is to meet the needs of students who excel academically and who possess the personal characteristics needed to successfully attend college earlier than the traditional age.
Students from all county high schools will be eligible to apply for the program and will be selected by the end of their sophomore year. According to school officials, the academic program will be enhanced and rigorous, with the educational goal of graduating from high school while simultaneously earning an associate degree.
Stumbo said that the program is based on a similar program in Bowling Green, “and it’s proven itself nationally to be one of the most successful programs that’s been tried out.”
Stumbo told the audience that students will benefit from being able to take their general education requirements in the FCECA environment. “You’re going to have a jumpstart on every other person who goes to the university where you choose to go to finish your degrees.”
The advancement of the college credits will allow students to move into smaller classes as they enter college. Stumbo said it was tough having to take a class at University of Kentucky in Memorial Coliseum with 500 other students when you were used to a class at Prestonsburg High School with 3o.
Twenty-three students were selected to be part of the innaugural class.
One placement will be held in reserve for an academy student in the University of Pikeville’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as a reserve spot for an Academy student in a pharmacy school coordinated through UPike. Additionally, Academy students who become certified teachers in areas of math, science, foreign language and special education and are hired to teach in Floyd County schools will be reimbursed for tuition costs up to $3,000 per year for five years.
Admission into the academy is a very competitive process, factoring in academic work, assessments, attendance, extracurricular activities, community service, household income, honors and awards, and whether or not the student is a first generation college student. Students who attend the academy will be required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average.