NCTC partners with Aubrey ISD on Career Pathways initiative

by Darin Allred | Jan 22, 2013 <p> </p>

AUBREY - North Central Texas College will collaborate with the Aubrey Independent School District to provide a four-year program in which students earn both a high school diploma and at least 24 hours of college credit, a technical certificate articulated with an Associate degree and Baccalaureate degree in a high-demand career field of the region.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two schools was signed at the Aubrey ISD board of trustees meeting on Jan. 16. Representative from NCTC including President Dr. Eddie Hadlock, Vice-President of Instruction Dr. Brent Wallace, Dean Dr. Emily Klement and Vice-President of Institutional Advancement Debbie Sharp were on hand to present the agreement and answer questions from Aubrey ISD board members.

The MOU was passed unanimously by Aubrey ISD trustees and signed by Hadlock and Aubrey ISD Superintendent Dr. James Monaco.

The proposed project will provide dual credit courses to students at Aubrey High School to enhance high school academic achievement and accelerate participation in postsecondary education.

"The pathways are basically allowing (students) to start a little earlier and actually have a degree path already determined," Dr. Wallace said. "A lot of our dual-credit students just start out with the core courses, but this way they can actually start to have career pathways in mind and start taking courses that directly apply to degrees, both at the Associate level and ultimately transferring to the Baccalaureate level as well."

One example would be the Associate of Arts in Teaching.

"That program has some courses that the students will be taking in education along with their core," Dr. Wallace said. "Then they will come to us and have (core courses) almost complete, if not totally complete, with an Associate degree at the point in time when they are graduating high school. Then they are able to transfer that on into a direct path we have with partners at four-year universities."

In addition to teacher education, NCTC plans to set up pathways at Aubrey High School in agriculture and health sciences.

To assist with the health science pathway, NCTC will put in a health science lab at Aubrey High School.

"(Aubrey) has given us three large classroom spaces in order for us to move in equipment and use that for teaching. That will enable us to do some Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes and some test prep for students who have a desire to later on apply to nursing school," Dr. Wallace added. "They will have a huge advantage over students that come in as freshmen. They will have all their prerequisites completed for the degree path for nursing, plus their core for when they later on want to do a Bachelor of Science in nursing."

NCTC faculty and administrators will serve on the planning team to plan, implement and evaluate the initiative. NCTC faculty will play a major role in curriculum planning and development. Courses, based on district and state standards, will be developed jointly by the college and Aubrey ISD faculties.

NCTC advisors will work with Aubrey ISD families to complete and submit NCTC degree plans. They will also assist with college placement exams and financial aid applications. As is currently the case, tuition waivers will be awarded to economically disadvantaged students as available.

"I am excited for NCTC and Aubrey ISD to take this next step of developing career pathways that will allow high school students to take college courses," Dr. Hadlock said. "Students have been taking college courses and receiving both high school and college credit for a number of years. This new partnership of developing career pathways will provide high school students a more focused approach to taking college courses and result in a more seamless transition from high school to college."

The Aubrey ISD superintendent agreed.

"This agreement will enhance the life of every Aubrey graduate by either giving them priority points toward a college degree or a skilled certification to begin their working career," Dr. Monaco said. "This is very special opportunity NCTC is affording our graduates and makes Aubrey High School a model of the future."