Shealy: VWSD closer to early college

Published 9:59 am Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy’s vision of local students graduating with associate’s degrees by the time they graduate high school is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Shealy, along with members of his staff David Campbell and Lucy DeRossette, went to North Carolina last week to look at plans to implement an early college at Vicksburg Warren School District.

“We talked to Mississippi State a few weeks ago about creating our first engineering course, introduction to engineering,” Shealy said. “It’s actually a sophomore-level course at Mississippi State. They’re going to be teaching it on our campus over there with one of their professors.”

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The talks with Mississippi State are what led Shealy and his staff to begin thinking about early college.

“We’ve been talking about getting moving on an early college because I’ve wanted associate’s degrees coming out of us since I got here,” he said. “The way early college works is it’s on the college campus itself, and it starts in ninth grade. Students begin earning college credits in ninth grade, and they’ll actually get their associate’s degree before they graduate college.”

Shealy said the idea piqued his interest, especially the opportunity to be the second early college in the state.

Mississippi was the last state to develop an early college, and the first is located in the Golden Triangle, serving students at Columbus, West Point, Starkville and two neighboring counties.

“We’re looking at a four-way partnership,” he said. “We’re still working out the details, but we’ve talked to all three of the colleges, Hinds Community College, Alcorn State and Mississippi State.”

The purpose of trip to North Carolina was to look at the structural model of how to make the plan a reality.

“All of this is coming through support from the Mississippi Department of Education,” he said.

“They are really behind us right now, and they really want to see Vicksburg succeed.”