ACPS program guarantees associate’s degree by high school graduation

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 5:26 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Almost fifty students in Albemarle County Schools are already in the process of getting a college degree, there’s an opportunity for more to join.

“It kind of seemed a little too good to be true when I first saw it,” sophomore at Albemarle High School Kawika Keys said.

Keys spends 90 minutes on certain block days at Monticello High School going to college remotely at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

“I’ve been able to create a community with a diverse group of people,” Keys said.

That group includes Sarah Jordan, a sophomore at Western Albemarle high school.

“I’ve met people I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to meet and there’s a variety of people I wouldn’t have met at Western,” Jordan said.

Though the two students have different home schools, they sit in a classroom together for the ACPS Early College Degree program.

“They can leave with an associate’s degree, which a lot of jobs require,” Director of the program Teresa Goodin said. “So we’ve wanted to give kids a leg up on careers in the workforce, to save some money on college to be able to have a more flexible schedule.”

Goodin started this program last year to help manage tuition. Before the structured program, there were individual students achieving the same success, but this has grown the numbers immensely, with 47 students in it now.

“The thought that we could give this life out of college for free is huge,” Goodin said.” I personally paid for my own college and still pay for it in loans and so I really see how much this could impact students.”

Now it’s time to recruit for next year’s cohort. Students don’t have to apply to earn this opportunity-- just seek out counselors or Goodin.

“Anyone who’s willing, and who knows the expectations is welcome to join.”

If you or your child is interested in this program, reach out to an ACPS school counselor and they will guide you from there.

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