Holy Family, ACTC team up on high school program
ASHLAND -- Holy Family School this fall will re-establish its high school with a program that allows students to earn a diploma and a two-year associate's degree from Ashland Community and Technical College.
"It's for a select group of students," said Dr. Barry Gowin, principal of the private Catholic School in Ashland.
Tri-State area students participating in the program would have to meet math and science requirements to attend, he said. They would take two years of classes at the high school and the remaining two years at Ashland Community and Technical College.
"It's unique in the way we're doing it," said Gowin, who is a former school superintendent in Illinois. "It's not a charter school. Kentucky does not have charter schools. I know there are students who can benefit from this ... It's a unique opportunity for students. It's not for everyone."
Holy Family School closed its high school in 1986 under orders from the Catholic Diocese. It currently has students from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
For students who are accepted, tuition will cost $4,000 per year for the first two years of the program and about $5,000 per year for the second two years of the program, Gowin said.
Due to reciprocity among Tri-State area colleges and universities, students attending the high school would not have to pay out-of-state fees to attend junior and senior level courses at the community and technical college, he said.
Several eighth grade students at Holy Family already have committed to participate in the program, said John Stewart, chairman of the board of directors at Ashland Community and Technical College. He estimated that 10 or more students might be in the first class enrolling next fall.
"We worked on something like this with Dr. Gary Adkins, former Ashland Community and Technical College president," Stewart said. "We talked about using the old vocational school and converting it to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) high school."
The proposal didn't work out, but some students from Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland and Russell High School do take science and math classes at the community college, Stewart said.
"We looked at similar programs in Ohio, North Carolina and Bowling Green, Ky.," Stewart said. "Students are coming out of those programs better prepared. We also could expand it to technical fields like welding."
The program can provide financial benefits, said John McGlone, a spokesman at Ashland Community and Technical College. The college has programs where high school students can take college courses that students can use toward a four-year degree, McGlone said.
"This is something new," he said. "It can save on two years of college room and board. We're really glad we can do this. The focus is on high quality education."
The school and community college will sign an agreement establishing the program at 11 a.m. March 20. An informational meeting also is scheduled for March 18 at Holy Family School, 932 Winchester Ave. Anyone interest in participating or seeking additional information can call the school at (606) 324-7040.
Both freshmen and sophomore high school students can participate in the program, Gowin said.
Gowan plans to work as a counselor and student advisory at the new high school.
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