CYPRESS TEXAS — Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Lone Star College—CyFair expanded their partnership that will expedite the process for obtaining a college degree and celebrated new College Academies at kick-off ceremonies throughout March and April at Cypress Park, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods and Langham Creek high schools.
District and LSC—CyFair administrators, CFISD Board of Trustees members and students and staff at each respective campus came together for the ceremonies, with each officially launching CFISD’s College Academy programs at the schools. The pilot program began at Cypress Lakes High School during the 2017-2018 school year.
In the program, initially presented to the CFISD Board in May 2017, eligible students can complete their Associate of Science degree from LSC—CyFair before they graduate from high school.
“We are very proud of our College Academy students,” said Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability. “College is here for them now; not four years after they graduate from high school. Research has shown that when students earn college hours during high school, they are more likely to earn a college degree. Our College Academy students will be able to graduate from high school with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from LSC—CyFair.
Officials and administrators from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Lone Star College—CyFair pose with the more than 75 participants in the College Academy from Langham Creek High School. The program expanded to four high schools after it was officially launched as a pilot in Oct. 2017 at Cypress Lakes High School. The partnership is designed to allow students to take college-level courses through the LSC—CyFair dual-credit program, which simultaneously provides credit toward their high school diploma.
“It’s because of our strong partnership with LSC—CyFair that we were able to pilot a College Academy at Cypress Lakes High School and now expand the program to four additional high schools. Within the next two years, all of our high schools will have a College Academy. What a great opportunity for our students in CFISD and a substantial college cost savings for our parents.”
The program is designed to allow participating students to take a sequence of college-level courses through the LSC—CyFair dual-credit program, which simultaneously provides credit toward their high school diploma.
The number of students enrolled in dual-credit courses at Lone Star College has increased since fall 2015 by nearly 20 percent. In fall 2017, LSC—CyFair was ranked the second-largest single campus provider of dual credit in the state.
“In continuing to support student success through this unique partnership with CFISD, we are excited to bring Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods, Langham Creek and Cypress Park into this growing program benefiting even more students in our community,” said Dr. Seelpa Keshvala, LSC—CyFair president.
The academies at Cypress Park, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods and Langham Creek will begin with the graduating class of 2022. New academies are scheduled to begin for the graduating class of 2023 at Cy-Fair, Cypress Creek, Cypress Falls, Cypress Springs and Jersey Village high schools.
In helping kick off the expanded partnership between Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Lone Star College—CyFair, four celebrations were held throughout March and April at Cypress Park, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods and Langham Creek high schools. The events featured keynote speakers and group photos, with academy participants wearing shirts with the words “Start close. Go far.” written on the back.
The cost structure for Lone Star College’s 2018-2019 dual-credit program courses will remain the same as in previous years for all in-district, out-of-district or out-of-state students. Tuition is waived but all other applicable fees will apply. The 2018-2019 LSC fees related to a typical 3-hour course are $73.
The cost savings is apparent, as a 3-hour course at Lone Star College is $220 for the 2018-2019 school year.
However, students and parents also benefit in time and effort. Students who can complete the 42 hours of core courses while still in high school can graduate with an associate’s degree the December after high school graduation, if they attend school in the summer. They could then transfer into a four-year university the spring after high school graduation as a university junior. Or they can start off as a university junior if completing their associate’s degree through the College Academy.
The program was made available to eighth-grade students from middle schools feeding into Cypress Park, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods and Langham Creek beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. Students meeting the criteria submitted applications and 416 were added to the College Academy for. Priority was awarded to students who are first generation to attend college, economically disadvantaged, high achievers and underserved.
Starting in the ninth grade, students prepare for college ready assessment and begin taking dual credit courses as early as the summer before their sophomore year in high school. The dual-credit schedule would continue through their senior years, including opportunities for additional summer school courses.
“We have many parents and students that are genuinely excited about the opportunity to get an associate’s degree and high school diploma while they are in high school through our College Academy program,” said Jamie Brotemarkle, Spillane principal. “We have had individual conversations with eighth-grade students who are motivated to do more rigorous course work in order to be eligible for the academy. The overwhelming cost savings for our families can be life changing.”
Travis Fanning, assistant superintendent of secondary school administration, speaks and offers words of wisdom to College Academy participants at Cypress Park High School during a celebration March 27 commemorating the expanded partnership between Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Lone Star College—CyFair.
Officials and administrators from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Lone Star College—CyFair pose with the more than 65 participants in the College Academy from Cypress Ridge High School. The program expanded to four high schools after it was officially launched as a pilot in Oct. 2017 at Cypress Lakes High School. Approximately 500 students submitted applications for the program and of those, 416 met the criteria for selection.
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