What if seniors could begin their college education without leaving school property?
That’s exactly what's happening with a new partnership between the and the .
For years, there have been programs that allow seniors to leave the high school campus to take college courses.
But officials said that’s what makes this partnership different.
A four-hour-credit Spanish is the first college course offered at the high school, and Matt Heslep, a Lakewood High School teacher certified by the University of Akron, teaches it.
Officials had hoped to attract 20 students for the program — and 29 of the 59 students in the high school class signed up.
“That tells you how many are taking advantage of this, and how many who could,” said Kevin Bright, Lakewood City Schools assistant superintendent.
U of A Lakewood director Suzanne Metelko said the Spanish course is only the beginning, noting that additional courses will be offered in the future.
“We want kids to have opportunities for our kids to be successful,” she said. “We really want this to happen for the kids ... This is two organizations getting together to make this happen.”
A parent would pay $1,200 over two years for 36 hours of college credit, or $100 per semester hour; the school district would pay $12,000 each year for 20 students to take six courses.
Compare that to $114,000 that the district pays for 20 students enrolled full-time in off-site post-secondary classes.
“I wanted a program that would give the student college experience right here at the high school,” said Bright, adding that for every student who leaves for post-secondary classes, the district loses state funding to the tune of about $5,800.
“It’s inexpensive, it’s on-site. It’s people we know and trust and it’s the same curriculum.”
In the hopes of defraying the costs to the district and parents, the school district has formed the Joint Council of Service Organizations to help chip in.
The group met on Monday for its first meeting.
“I am pleased to represent the University of Akron, but I live in and love the community of Lakewood,” said Metelko. “We want to give our students every opportunity and every advantage. This is a great partnership.”