Left to Right- Amy Boaz H.C Counselor, Asst. Supt. Casey Henderson, Supt. Kenny Wilson, and Principal Larry Farlee
(Clinton, KY July 29th)-On Wednesday July 27, the Hickman County School Board met with local newspapers to discuss the 2011-2012 Falcon Academy.
Superintendent Kenny Wilson started the meeting by reviewing the successful first year of the new program. By the decrease in office discipline referrals and high school dropouts, higher GPA’s and ACT scores, the first year using this new method reached beyond the school board’s expectations. During the 2010-2011 school year, Hickman County Seniors took approximately 777 dual credit college hours divided among only 54 seniors. Not only did these credits give these students a head start to their post-secondary education, but it was at no extra cost to the students and parents. One student graduated from high school with 26 college credit hours.
What is this new program?
Falcon Academy is a new method of teaching that allows juniors and seniors to take college courses as part of their everyday schedule. H.C.H.S has teamed up with colleges including: WKCTC, Murray State University, UT Martin and Mid-Continent University to see that students stay motivated to further their education. Through the Academy, Hickman County offers: College English, College Algebra, Psychology, World Geography, History of U.S, Personal Finance, Intro to Music and new this year Agriculture.
Courses can also be taken through the Fulton Area Vocational School. As the program grows, the Board plans to add more classes like Public Speaking, which they hope to start as soon as this spring. Students who choose to be part of the Academy not only get more prepared for the future, but have the opportunity to enter into college with credit hours equivalent to one or more full semesters.
To participate in Falcon Academy students must enroll in the college in which they plan to apply the dual credits. The academy uses tools such as Blackboard, myGate, and other college online techniques to interact with the students the same way they would in college. Students can see his/her grades, post questions, email professors, receive assignments, and turn in work.
Because the Academy is to make students prepare for college, H.C.H.S has adopted the 10 point grading scale used in most universities. Principal Larry Farlee stated “If the students are doing college level work, they should be graded as college students.”
While the idea of Falcon Academy sounds promising, some parents are concerned about the cost of the courses knowing that college can be expensive. However, the participating post-secondary schools have agreed to budget cuts specifically for the Falcon Academy. Some courses are offered at more than half off making this program almost impossible to pass up. Additionally, local sponsors have stepped in and covered the remaining expenses for tuition and books; giving both the students and parents NO EXCUSES. This group includes: First Community Bank, Clinton Bank, Jackson Purchase ACA, Jerry Perry-Monsanto Award, Robbie Rudolph of the Four Rivers Scholarship Foundation and the Hickman County Board of Education. These sponsors have already raised approximately $23,000 dollars toward this school year.
A Falcon Academy Celebration with be held August 10th at 1:30 in the Hickman County High School Library to show the appreciation that the students and faculty have towards these sponsors. Without their help, this program would not be possible.
Falcon Academy is generating out beyond Hickman County borders. Flying High with the Falcon Academy was presented May 17, 2011 at the New Horizons Teaching and Learning Conference in Lexington, KY by Lisa Stevenson from WKCTC, Assistant Superintendent Casey Henderson and counselor Amy Boaz of Hickman County High School. The program was such a success that this has been chosen to be presented at the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) Conference in Mystic Connecticut on October 23, 2011.
When asked how the Falcon Academy came about, Casey Henderson explained, “It was good timing that made it all fall into place. The idea came to the school and everyone worked together and ran with it.” It took a lot of motivation and determination to get it started and it is only the beginning.
Falcon Academy is expected to keep students engaged in school while at the same time getting them excited about the future. Seniors tend to feel pressured about college and sometimes lose interest, but through this program, every student has confidence that they can succeed.