Prairie High School provides many unique opportunities for students to further their learning. Kirkwood Classes are just one opportunity high school students can take. Kirkwood Community College and the College Community School District have had a strong standing partnership for many years.
Mick Starcevich, President of Kirkwood Community College and former Superintendent at College Community Schools, can attest to this. “I’ve been here 26 years in a combination of the two and it’s always been a very strong relationship,” said Starcevich. “I would encourage students, especially seniors to try a concurrent enrollment class at Kirkwood. Some of them try to skate through their senior year and that is the worst thing they can do.” Starcevich said.
Students at Prairie have the chance to get a jump start on their college career by taking advantage of the “College Credit in High School” program. This program gives students a chance to try a variety of courses to see what they like or don’t like. Also this program is an alternative approach to learning in high school and sets students up for success. Last year alone, 6,000 families from Kirkwood’s seven county region saved $5.5 million in college tuition by taking advantage of College Credit in High School with no cost to the families. In the 2016-2017 school year, 465 Prairie students earned 2,005 credits, valued at $308,693.
At Prairie High School, AP classes or dual enrollment Kirkwood classes are offered. “There is a difference between the college classes that are taught here at Prairie and at Kirkwood,” said John Speer, Superintendent at College Community Schools. “They are both good but I think getting students onto a college campus or setting is important in their educational growth.”
Kelsey Wenger, a 2016 Prairie graduate, took full advantage of this program earning 64 college credits while attending Prairie. She earned her Associate of Science degree before attending Coe College and as a result is graduating two years early. Kelsey will be pursuing her graduate work at the Dental School at the University of Iowa in the fall. “By taking courses in high school you will free up time in your college schedule,” said Wenger. “This could mean saving money by graduating early, or having more time to focus on your major(s) when entering college full time. Students are able to go straight into their major courses right away by taking general education courses ahead of time.”
Both Kirkwood and Prairie are looking for the best way to serve students now and for their future. They also are looking to expand student’s opportunities in learning and this is just one of the ways both organizations are achieving this goal.