Sullivan County students earning college credit in high school

Rick Wagner • Mar 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County students are blurring the line between high school and college, with high school students earning college credit across the county.

The programs vary in cost, although many are free or have scholarship opportunities.

Bo Shadden, who oversees career technical education (CTE) for the system, told the county Board of Education at a Thursday work session that 2,465 CTE students in the system this year are taking 5,822 CTE courses. That represents about 70 percent of the high school population.

College credit is not limited to CTE students, although CTE students have college credit and certification opportunities.

In addition, the county system has Advanced Placement courses, which if students earn at least a 3 on the end of course exam generally count for college credit.

In the dual credit program with Northeast State Community College, which is free to high school students, county CTE teachers instruct high school students who through articulation get one to four college credit hours for a $10 application fee.

Courses include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, welding, with additional dual credit courses offer in cosmetology through the Kingsport Academy of Hair Design, greenhouse management through Middle Tennessee State University and Walters State Community College, agriculture leadership through MTSU, culinary arts through Pellissippi State Community College and WSCC, graphic design through O’More College, automotive through the University Technical Institute and Nashville Auto Diesel College, and criminal justice through WSCC.

In dual enrollment, where high school students are taught by college instruction, programs include medical technology through Northeast State and greenhouse management through MTSU. Funding can include lottery scholarship money.

In addition, a dual enrollment certification program is offered to Sullivan Central High School students who can get a high school diploma and 27 hours of college credit. Those graduates, Shadden said, also can get a national welding certification, which seven Central students are on track to do in the spring.

That program is mostly free through lottery scholarship money, donations and the Niswonger Foundation.

After graduation, students can complete two additional semesters and receive an associate’s degrees.

Another program is industry certifications, including first responder, culinary arts and a cosmetology license, as well as CPR, WorkKeys and certification for the construction trades, which include programs at North and Central high schools.

Coming soon, Shadden said, is a firefighter 1 certification and certified nursing assistant at Sullivan South High as well as a machine tool operators certification at Sullivan East High, both set to start in August.

The machine tool program would provide 33 dual enrollment credits and a certificate upon graduation.

Also, a mobile app development course at Sullivan Central and East high schools, funded through a more than $173,686 Carl Perkins federal grant, has two classes at East and one at Central.

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