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Dually Enrolled Students Rebounding in Numbers

Apr 3

New Pathway for RSHS Seniors Starts This Fall

April 3, 2024 – Richmond Community College’s dual enrollment program with the public school systems experienced growth this academic year in the number of students taking advantage of free college classes while in high school.Dually enrolled high school students in a Criminal Justice class.

Vice President for Instruction Kevin Parsons reported on these figures at RichmondCC’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday.

“We have rebounded from the loss of students due to COVID. This past fall semester, for Richmond County, we were within five students of our all-time high of fall 2019, and this spring semester, we are above our all-time high set in the spring of 2020,” Parsons said.

In fall 2019, there were 399 dually enrolled high school students from Richmond County. This fall there were 394. As for the spring figures, there were 314 dually enrolled high school students in spring 2020; currently, there are 341 dually enrolled students.

In Scotland County, there was a record number of high school students enrolled in the dual enrollment program for both the fall 2023 semester (226) and spring 2024 semester (185).

Dual enrollment and Early College students make up about 42 percent of RichmondCC’s college curriculum enrollment.

New Pathway for High School Seniors

RichmondCC is also partnering with Richmond Senior High School to provide a new pathway for eligible high school seniors to spend most of their day at RichmondCC, while completing one core class at RSHS. Beginning with the 2024 fall semester, eligible seniors will be able to choose one of these four areas of study at RichmondCC:

  • Building and Construction Trades
  • Electric Lineman
  • Machining
  • Medical Assisting

“We are looking forward to this new partnership because it allows these students to graduate from high school with an employable skill and a recognized workforce certification,” Parsons said.

In Scotland County, RichmondCC will be offering more machining and welding classes from three blocks to four blocks.

“This will allow us to meet the growing interest in these two programs at Scotland High School,” Parsons said.

Growing Teachers Locally

Early Childhood Education Program Chair Sheila Regan provided the Board of Trustees with information about the Elementary Education Residency Licensure Certificate that prepares new elementary school teachers to earn their N.C. teaching license. It includes six online courses plus one-on-one coaching.

To be eligible, individuals must have a bachelor's degree in any area of study other than education and either have a letter of intent for hire or currently be working as a teacher in an elementary school.

Regan said the program is starting to gain some traction as new teachers recognize the benefit and ease of earning their teaching license in a residency program.

“We are trying to be a part of the solution for the teacher shortage in our region and help our public schools grow local teachers who are more than likely going to stay local and have a great career teaching our children,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College.

Digital Books

McInnis presented to the board the plan to do away with a “brick and mortar” bookstore and transition to digital textbooks, as many schools have already done.

“We are having to adapt to a new way of doing business in a very changing and dynamic world,” McInnis said.

RichmondCC will be using a company called BibliU to integrate digital textbooks and other resources into classes for both students and faculty. This move will pass along substantial savings to students on textbooks. According to internal research, RichmondCC students would have saved a combined $375,000 on book purchases this past fall semester if they had the option for digital textbooks.

There will be exceptions for some areas of study, and students will have the option to order a printed book if they choose to.

New Format for Medical Assisting

The Board of Trustees also approved the termination of the Medical Assisting program as an associate degree and the decision to offer it as a short-term, continuing education course.

Medical assistants with a two-year associate degree do not earn more than medical assistants who acquire their training and certification through a short-term training course, which only takes 11 months to complete. Both programs prepare students to become certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants, and that is the sole credential that determines their employability and pay.

“We’ve been looking at this for over a year, and this is a timesaving and cost-savings move for our students,” McInnis said. “This new format will provide students with the same quality training and skills, but at half the cost and half the time. As it has been in the past, our strategy is to align our credentials with the needs of employers and the labor market.”