LL-H board hears talk of college fast-track

LAKE LINDEN – Lake Linden-Hubbell high-school students could have the opportunity to complete two years of college before they graduate high school.

Leon Sutherland, guidance counselor for Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools, gave a presentation on the proposed Fast Track program to the board Monday.

Sutherland presented a sample program with Finlandia University, in which students would be able to obtain as many as 62 college credits – two years of college.

To be eligible, students must score a Level 1 or Level 2 on their Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests in seventh grade, or be accepted by request if they scored at that level on one of the two tests. They must also be in good standing in discipline and attendance.

Schedules would be adjusted to move core classes up to eighth or ninth grade. In later years, their schedule would be heavily tilted towards dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes.

The class of 2016 has six students who are advanced in math; the class of 2017 has nine. In the class of 2018, 16 students meet the criteria. it rises to 23 for the class of 2019.

“This would not be for your average, ordinary run-of-the-mill student,” Sutherland said. “You’re talking about one or two kids, maybe three kids, every year that are ready for it.”

Students would be notified at the end of their seventh-grade year. If interested, they would meet with Sutherland to discuss the program. Students would complete most of the classes in their junior and senior years; after 10th grade, they would either commit to a path or withdraw from the program. Those who continue would then meet with the counselor and an admissions advisor to make a two-year plan.

Sutherland said the program would allow some students to earn credits much more inexpensively than as a college student. However, he said, the increased workload can also reduce students’ chances at a 4.0 (and potentially hurt their chances at GPA-based scholarships, board members pointed out).

Board member Denise Lepisto also raised the issue of universities that may not accept credits from university.

Sutherland said students could try to emphasize Advanced Placement credits in their classes, which automatically transfer, as opposed to dual enrollment, which vary with the institution. In addition, he said, they could evaluate colleges in which they are interested to see which of their classes will transfer.

“You would need to have some kind of pretty solid idea of where you wanted to go to avoid what you’re talking about, losing those credits,” he said.

Sutherland provided informational brochures for the board to look over.

In other action, the board:

approved a trip to Saginaw for Michigan History Day students and teacher Jennifer Saaranen to participate in the state finals.

recognized Brittni Kisul and Tyler Roose for earning All U.P. honors in girls and boys basketball.

recognized Harkin Massopust for qualifying and competing for the second year in a row at the state geography bee, which was held at Western Michigan University on April 5. Massopust advanced past the first round in the bee.

recognized Gary Guisfredi for receiving the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Dedicated Service Award for completing 10 years as athletic director.

approved awarding up to $4,000 in Margaret Jones Scholarships for the 2012-13 school year.

approved awarding up to $3,000 in Irving Clouthier Scholarships for the 2012-13 school year.

approved Kathleen Carlton-Johnson as electoral representative for the board at the Copper Country Intermediate School District biennial election.

approved raising the athletic pass prices. Family passes will increase to $150 after Sept. 2. A one-event pass will increase to $12, starting with the 2013-14 athletic schedule.

accepted with regret Jamie Koskela’s resignation as high school teacher and assistant varsity football coach.

approved changing the last day of the 2012-13 school year to June 6 for students and June 7, an in-service/records day for faculty. The board moved it back a day to make up time lost to snow days, which was necessary to comply with state requirements.

adopted the 2013-14 middle school/high school schedule.

approved a state aid note bid from Range Bank for a $375,000 loan at 1.2 percent interest.