JOPLIN - A memorandum of understanding with a bunch of whereases was signed and exchanged today between Dr. Jim Simpson, R-8 superintendent of schools (on the left) and Dr. Julio León, president of Missouri Southern State University (on the right). The whereases explained that the two educational groups plan "to work together and create a partnership agreement that will enhance the preparation of high school students for college....."
While the idea of getting college credit while still in high school had been in place, the two groups were looking for ways to make it more "beneficial" to the students capable of advancing their education.
Representatives from Missouri Southern State University who took part in negotiating the partnership agreement with Joplin R-8 are (L-R) Dr. Betsy Griffin, assistant vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Glenn Coltharp, dean of the school of education and Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president for academic affairs.
In doing this they hope to create "innovative, concurrent enrollment options" with an emphasis on "innovative." Simpson remarked that it was the "synergy that was needed" to advance the concept and how it was a "great asset to have a university close by."
"Tying in the last year of high school with the first year of college will be good for both schools," León said. Both he and Simpson could not disagree that if innovative dual enrollment were proposed 10 years ago, it might have encouraged more students to attend public rather than private schools.
When Simpson suggested that the program would help his high school students get to know the Southern campus, León said that he "hoped that they come--all of them" as continuing Southern students. León then handed Simpson the gold pen that Simpson used to sign the document.
Part of the deal involves establishing a core curriculum at the high school level that better prepares students for the rigors of college classes. The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, the Missouri Department of Higher Education, Missouri postsecondary institutions and the Missouri K-12 school systems in concert decided upon a 24-unit curriculum that includes: English/language arts (4 units), social studies (3 units), mathematics (3 units), science (3 units), fine arts (1 unit) and electives (7 units). Other mandatory classes include physical education (1/2) unit, health education (1) unit and personal finance (1/2 unit). In addition, two units of a single foreign language strongly are recommended.
For more information on the core curriculum, go here (http://www.dhe.mo.gov/corecurriculum.shtml).
Many minds representing the Joplin R-8 school district collaborated with Missouri Southern officials in attempting to draft a more innovative dual enrollment program for Joplin High School students. They are: (L-R) Dr. Angela Neria, technology director; Dr. Kerry Sachetta, principal; Anne Sharp, president of the board of education; Patty Kruse, counselor; and Angie Besendorfer, assistant superintendent for teaching learning and accountability. According to Kruse, many aspects of the program, like dissemination of scholarships, scheduling of classes, for instance, for band members, and eligibility have yet to be ironed out.