Brenna Smark, Reporter
Principal Matt Yarkosky of Graham-Kapowsin High School said the idea of offering Pierce classes at the high school first came up in summer 2015. GKHS’s current student population is 2,000, 130 of them being Running Start students. Administrators recognize that for the Running Start population at GKHS, the 25-30 minute commute to and from Pierce can be inconvenient and strenuous depending on traffic and weather conditions.
Yarkosky said that while these classes are open to all college students, the majority of students to use the classes are adults who have jobs and families. They find that taking courses at the high school is easier and more flexible with their schedules.
Bethel School District covers 202 square miles and the community has little access to public transportation to counteract this issue. He said plans to put this idea in action began this last fall.
From creating a partnership with Pierce and assigning professors to teach the college courses at the high school to deciding what classrooms were to use fell into place for the program to start this winter quarter.
“The ultimate goal of offering college courses here at the high school is to give individuals a more convenient option for earning some college credits,” Yarkosky said. “We understand that Graham is generally put aside from Pierce and other colleges, and we hope these courses will help the students gain some relief by meeting them halfway.”
This program especially benefits people who prefer in-person classes rather than online or having to travel to a Pierce campus in Puyallup or Lakewood.
The main goal for this project between Pierce and GKHS is to help students perform at their personal best every day and to help them own their future. Yarkosky said this goal was in the front of their minds when deciding what courses they would offer at the high school. The classes offered were chosen to include general requirements students will need for nearly any career or education pathway they wish to pursue, according to Pierce’s website. The classes chosen were English as a Second Language, college success, English composition, public speaking and psychology.
Free tutoring services will be available on site for any of the classes. The classes are from 4-7 p.m. and meet twice a week. The registration process is the same and students may also be eligible for financial aid.
This collaboration between Pierce and Bethel School District is bringing opportunities for students.
“We’re so excited to collaborate with the Bethel School District to bring more opportunities to the community,” Pierce College Puyallup President Marty Cavalluzzi said. “These courses, combined with our online offerings, increases the community’s access to higher education.”
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