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Putnam Schools Considering A Middle College Program At Vol State

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Schools Considering A Middle College Program At Vol State

The Putnam County School Board is considering a Middle College Program that would allow students to graduate high school with an associates degree.

Middle College is similar to Duel Enrollment, but in Middle College students are set on the path to an associates degree from the start of high school. School System Future Ready Supervisor Sam Brooks presented the program to the board last week. He said he cannot see any reason why the school system would not take on the program.

“There’s several districts across the state that do it, so I’ve done my research and talked with several of them,” Brooks said. “Just trying to figure out what the landmines may be if there are any out there at all.”

The School Board asked Brooks to consider his research and come back with a full proposal. School board members said it appeared to be a program that could specifically help students who are motivated by academics. The system would work with Vol State’s Cookeville campus on the project.

Duel enrollment can also earn students an associates degree, but students can decide how many college courses they want to take, and it does not always lead to a degree. Brooks said the Middle College program provides a clear curriculum that will earn them a degree when they graduate high school.

“I’ve come to the realization, with Duel Enrollment, we’re already doing it,” Brooks said. “We have those options and opportunities for students. This just supplies the frame work for those motivated students to give them a plan.”

Brooks said he still has some research to do, but he has not comes across any negatives to the program.

“I’m trying to lay out the plan and what that might look like,” Brooks said. “We definitely want to get the viewpoint of counselors. We’ve done that a little bit, and what do they see as any barriers that might be there for students.”

The college courses are paid for through the use of the Duel Enrollment and Middle College grants. Brooks said the program will need to be approved before January to give teachers and counselors time to prepare. He said if it is approved the next step would be to do the same thing he did when he helped the Board implement duel enrollment in 2011.

“Let’s get some students in there that are motivated and want to do it,” Brooks said. “Start small. Let’s figure out what we are doing along the way and what’s best for our kids in Putnam County. Get out of the way and let it grow as time goes on.”


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