Yelm High School will offer an in-house associate’s degree program
By Daniel Warn / firstname.lastname@example.org
Yelm Community Schools now offers a college diploma program where students can obtain an associate of arts degree which can be transferred to a four-year institution.
Deputy Superintendent Lisa Cadero-Smith presented the Associate of Arts-Direct Transfer Agreement program at the school board’s Jan. 13 study session. Cadero-Smith said the program allows students to earn an associate’s degree while enjoying the benefits of high school life.
It differs from Running Start, where students attend classes at places like South Puget Sound Community College, forgoing some of the more traditional aspects of high school.
Students who participate in the program will learn if they are able to go to university in a familiar environment. and a safe environment, Cadero-Smith said. She noted that it’s not uncommon for a Running Start student to put themselves in over their head at community college and come back to high school in a worse position when it comes to their graduation requirements. of the diploma.
She made it clear that she thought Running Start was a good program, one that her own children had benefited from, but the associate degree within high school walls might be more beneficial for some students, she said.
One of the hurdles students may face with Running Start is that the closest facility offering the program is 20 miles from Yelm.
The new program allows students to earn an associate degree from South Puget Sound Community College without the student ever setting foot on its campus.
Students will have the opportunity to earn the 90 college credits needed to graduate, with at least 15 of their 20 elective credits available through Yelm High School’s career and technical offerings.
In total, the program costs students $3,600, although there are grant funds available for free or reduced tuition for eligible students.
The program runs from ninth to tenth grade and simultaneously fulfills the requirements for obtaining a high school diploma.
Currently, 79 students are enrolled in the program – 63 freshmen and 16 sophomores.
Cadero-Smith said it was heartwarming to see the emotion and pride emanating from the students and their parents when they learned they had been accepted into the program.