At a Glance
Keystone Central Career and Technology Center (KCCTC), and other schools in Keystone Central School District (KCSD), participate in the Penn College NOW program, which provides high school students the opportunity to take dual enrollment courses and earn college credit.
As a rural school district, KCSD has focused on providing students opportunities through career pathways and college articulations. Ken Kryder, Director of Career and Technology Center/Adult Education for KCSD, spearheaded the effort to implement the Penn College NOW program. The program is a valuable opportunity to give students a head start on college, to let them experience college courses in a controlled high school environment, and to encourage them to think about the opportunities available to them beyond their own rural communities.
According to the Penn College Now website, the dual enrollment program, “allows students to take college courses while in high school. The courses are taught at the high school or career and technology center by Penn College approved high school instructors. The courses must follow the college syllabus and require college approved textbooks.” (Retrieved from www.pct.edu/k12/penncollegenow/school?id=5&year=2011 .) To enroll in a dual enrollment course, students must pass the Penn College of Technology (PCT) reading placement tests and meet any pre- or co-requisites for the course. The credits earned may be applied to specific PCT degrees or to other accredited postsecondary institutions that accept them.
To start the program, Mr. Kryder met with PCT representatives. They identified high school faculty members who were qualified to teach dual enrollment courses. PCT has a process to qualify academic and CTC instructors, train them and monitor course implementation. Participating high school teachers must have release time so that they may meet with PCT faculty. The college charges the school district a $2500 fee for the program, which allows an unlimited number of students to participate in the program. The school district covers the costs of textbooks and supplies. In 2003, the CTC offered dual enrollment courses in the Electronics Technology Program. As of the 2017-2018 school year, it offers 17 Penn College Now courses, six of which are in academic classrooms.
Students are made aware of the program through the course selection catalogue, on the KCSD website and during their course scheduling. Because the CTC is located on one of the high school campuses, there is great flexibility in scheduling. KCSD students can choose full-time CTE Program of Study options, CTE elective courses or dual enrollment courses. A parent/student meeting is held for students interested in dual enrollment. Representatives from KCSD and PCT attend the meeting to share information about the program, answer questions and explain the enrollment process.
For CTCs who want to pursue dual enrollment opportunities for students, Mr. Kryder recommends providing interested students with additional support and guidance to help them successfully navigate the system. Penn College Now has a support system in place both at the CTC and at PCT. The CTC Director, CTC secretary and the guidance department work in conjunction with the dual enrollment office at the college to provide successful application, testing and placement processes.
KCSD, including the CTC, has found tremendous success with the Penn College NOW program, and administrators plan to continue participating in the program. This video provides further information about the program.
For the 2017-2018 school year, 145 KCSD students (attending KCCTC, Central Mountain High School or Bucktail Jr./Sr. High School) are enrolled in the Penn College NOW program. It is estimated these students collectively will earn over 640 college credits saving them approximately $350,000 in tuition costs.
Over the past three years, 316 KCSD students have taken 1409 credits through the dual enrollment program. These credits can be applied to programs offered at PCT or at other accredited colleges. It is estimated that students saved over $750,000 in tuition costs while also getting a leg up on college coursework.
Keystone Central Career and Technology Center
Mr. Ken Kryder, Director of Career and Technology Center/Adult Education
Keystone Central School District