Canal Winchester High School students may soon be able to stay on campus instead of traveling to Columbus to take college-level courses.
CWHS Principal Kirk Henderson talked to the school board at its Nov. 19 meeting about offering college courses at the high school in the near future. Currently, he said, about 15 students leave the high school to take classes at Columbus State Community College (CSCC); by doing so, they earn college credits while they are still in high school.
"Dual enrollment is the opportunity to replicate as closely as possible that college-going experience for high school students who are ready for the rigors of a college curriculum," said Karen Gray, director of CSCC dual enrollment.
Henderson indicated that some students who are interested in the program and who are academically capable of doing college-level work do not have transportation to Columbus.
Other students do not participate because they do not want to leave the high school campus.
"So to kill two birds with one stone, they can get college credit and they can get high school credit and be able to stay in our school and still be part of high school," he said. "We can provide the college experience on our own campus and be able to provide those students with credit."
Gray said it would be likely that the college courses offered at CWHS would be ones with credits that are guaranteed to transfer to other colleges in Ohio. While there is a cost to the program - approximately $25 per semester credit hour - that fee is about one-third of what other CSCC students on campus pay, she said.
"This has been a dream of mine to provide this higher opportunity - this challenge to our students," Superintendent Kimberley Miller-Smith said. "We're really trying to increase the rigor of our senior year."
In other business, Miller told the board last week the school district is reviewing its crisis-preparedness plan.
"I feel we need to conduct an extensive safety audit," she said. "We need a needs assessment and crisis response training to prepare for and appropriately respond to a true emergency.
"As tragic as the Chardon High School incident was, had it not been for their extensive training, more lives would have been lost," Miller-Smith added. "I want to know that the employees of Canal Winchester and the facilities of Canal Winchester have been audited with great care and we have emergency plans in place to indeed protect all of the employees and the students who learn in Canal Winchester schools."
In order to review the district's emergency preparedness and develop training programs, the board agreed with her request to place Winchester Trail Elementary Principal Michael Brunning in the temporary position as director of operations, effective in January, and to post the job opening created as a result of his new role.
The director of operations position will end on June 30, 2014.
The board of education also approved purchase of two school buses from Center City International. The 77-passenger and 54-passenger buses cost approximately $163,000, and are expected to be in service before the spring of 2013.
The board unanimously voted to name the athletic field at Canal Winchester High School the Weiser Field at Mike Locke Stadium. The field is named after a Canal Winchester family who has contributed over the years to the school district and the community.
The family also recently made a "significant," but undisclosed donation to a fund to help pay off the athletic field at the stadium that was not covered by pledges from other community members.
Until 2007, Canal Winchester students competed on fields at the old high school at 100 Washington St. That field was dedicated to A.B. Weiser, a former CWLSD principal and superintendent for 35 years.
"This community, this school district, and all the people in it are very important to them (Weiser family)," board President Debra Waites said. "So while I know that you don't particularly like to be in the limelight, I'd like to take a moment to thank you for all that you have done. I think it is appreciated much more than you will ever know."
The next regular meeting board of education meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17.