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Charleston Southern University and Dorchester Two School District entered an articulation agreement June 23, 2014, providing students who complete DD2s Early College Program through Trident Technical College a seamless transition into Charleston Southern as juniors.
Dr. Sean Alford, assistant superintendent for instruction at Dorchester Two, said the initiative helps establish a standard in the state. This is a good opportunity for our students and is cost effective for their parents, said Alford of the innovative program developed by DD2 and Charleston Southern.
DD2 students begin the Early College Program between their freshman and sophomore years of high school. The second cohort is starting this July, with the first cohort expected to earn their high school diplomas and an associate of arts or an associate of science degree at high school graduation in 2016. Each cohort of 90 students has 30 students at each of the three DD2 high schools.
Ryan Ashley, assistant principal at Ashley Ridge High School, said students are selected into the program after a rigorous interview process which includes a review of test scores, teacher recommendations and a strong desire on the part of the students to go to college.
The students have to work hard, and they do, said Alford. They have to earn the opportunity theyve been given. Alford and DD2 Superintendent, Joe Pye, hope the program becomes a model for South Carolina. Pye, who admits it is difficult for him to say no to a student who wants to learn, said This is wide open; we give everyone a chance.
The program is administered on the Charleston Southern side by Dr. George Metz, dean of the School of Education. CSU will provide academic advising and transfer advice to DD2 students. Charleston Southern majors included in the seamless transfer are criminal justice, psychology, elementary education, graphic design and mathematics. Additional opportunities exist for the Early College Program students to study other majors and interests at CSU.
We are going to send high caliber graduates back out into the community, said Metz. We are privileged to be a part of this experience. These students will receive the individualized attention which is the hallmark of Charleston Southern.
CSU President, Dr. Jairy C. Hunter Jr., said the agreement is a tremendous economic opportunity for the Lowcountry and for students and parents. He said the program will supply the kind of workers employers are looking for those who can think critically, get along with coworkers and who have experience through jobs and internships.
This opportunity introduces students to higher education possibilities early in their high school career and makes it possible for them to go on to earn a masters degree by the time some students are just finishing a bachelors degree.
Photo: Dr. Jairy Hunter, president of Charleston Southern University, and Joe Pye, superintendent of Dorchester Two School District, sign the articulation agreement June 23, 2014.