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QACPS, Chesapeake team up on AP, Dual Enrollment

Goals include increasing college readiness, college degree completion

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Queen Anne’s County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Williamson, left, and Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara Viniar sign the Advanced Credit Initiative agreement.The ACI program is intended to maximize the number of college credits students may earn prior to high school graduation. Photo by Jeff Straight 

CENTREVILLE – College readiness and degree completion were two hot topics in this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly. Chesapeake College and Queen Anne’s County Public Schools signed an agreement last Tuesday that addressed both issues.

Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara Viniar and Queen Anne’s County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Williamson signed the Advanced Credit Initiative (ACI) at the QACPS Board Office. One of the project’s chief goals is to help students plan out their Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment opportunities in order to maximize the number of college credits program participants may earn prior to high school graduation.

"This program fits very nicely with the College Readiness and Completion Act that recently passed the General Assembly," said Dr. Williamson. "And by blending AP and Dual Enrollment it gives students the best of both worlds."

As part of the agreement, QACPS will bus participating students from the county’s two high schools to the college’s Wye Mills Campus starting in Fall 2013 to take classes in the 8:30 a.m. time block Monday through Friday. Dr. Viniar praised the school system’s transportation commitment, which she said "will allow the Queen Anne’s students to select from a wide array of courses and become accustomed to studying in a college setting."

Dr. Viniar said the program offers participants many potential advantages depending upon their goals.

"Students can plan AP/Dual Enrollment packages that can be used toward a Chesapeake College degree or for transfer to four-year colleges and universities," said Dr. Viniar. "While many Queen Anne’s students already take both AP and Dual Enrollment courses, combining both in a long-term plan can help students earn college degrees more quickly – and more economically."

When the program is fully phased in, college admissions staff members and high school counselors will work jointly with high school students and their parents as early as the students’ freshman year.

"It will be a comprehensive, four-year program," noted Dr. Viniar.

In addition to taking AP and Dual Enrollment courses throughout their junior and senior years, students will be able to see how those courses can be used to fulfill Chesapeake requirements in the student’s academic program of choice. During participants’ senior year, college staff will work with students to move seamlessly into Chesapeake after high school graduation or prepare for transfer.

This program is similar to an ACI program ramping up in Talbot County.

"The key for us is we want to use Dual Enrollment to complement what the student can take through Advanced Placement," said Dr. Richard Midcap, the college’s vice president for student success. "That puts the student in the best position to leave high school with a significant number of college credits earned."

Kathy Petrichenko, Chesapeake’s dean for recruitment services, said the mix of AP and Dual Enrollment courses will vary by student.

"Some students are great at high-stakes testing and thrive in the AP program. Others feel more comfortable in a 15-week format that features regular evaluation that builds to a final grade," noted Petrichenko. "That’s why we feel the academic advising component is critical if this program is to work for each individual student."

College and school system officials made the decision to fast-track the program so that students who will be juniors in Fall 2013 can participate. Information meetings will take place at both Kent Island High School and Queen Anne’s County high school next week.

The ACI information session will be conducted at Kent Island High School on Monday, April 22nd at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Naviance College and Career Exploration meeting. The ACI presentation will be part of the College Career Connections Night at Queen Anne’s County High School on Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, individuals may contact Petrichenko by email or phone (kpetrichenko@chesapeake.edu, 410-822-5400, ext. 2257).

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