SL students learn online through College Credit Plus

Southern Local High School students take a college psychology course without leaving their classroom thanks to College Credit Plus. High schoolers can take an online class, as seen here with Dr. Anton Salinski at Eastern Gateway Community College, or travel to EGCC or Kent State University campuses to earn both high school and college credits and cost savings for post-secondary education. Two courses are being offered during the fall semester with another two planned for the spring term. (Submitted photo)

SALINEVILLE — A program instituted 10 years ago at Southern Local Schools helps bring college into the high school classroom.

Twice a week, students gather in the technology room at SLHS where Virtual Learning Academy coordinator/industrial technology teacher Ron Infanti facilitates College Credit Plus courses viewed online with professors from Eastern Gateway Community College.

About 22 pupils in grades 10-12 are currently studying psychology and English Composition 101 with programs lined up next year for sociology and English Composition 102.

Infanti said students have the advantage of gaining high school and college credit as well as the opportunity to save money when furthering their education.

“It’s been 10 years for the program and the students will get credit in high school and three hours of college credit that is acceptable at any college in Ohio,” he said. “A few hundred students have taken advantage of this program over the past few years. Rather than having a study hall, they come here [to the tech room] and get lessons without having to go to a college campus.”

Infanti said options are available to work online and travel to the EGCC and Kent State University campuses, which fills a need he saw a decade ago. For his part, he facilitates the courses by distributing work and taking attendance for the professor.

“I told [representatives at] Kent State and Eastern Gateway that I wanted to start it here because I saw students had capabilities to learn. They both liked the idea and I went to EGCC to start the online classes,” he added. “My goal is to get them prepared for college, whether it be for two years or four years. What’s nice is when they are done, they actually have college credit. If they move through all four classes offered here, they will have 12 college credit hours when they graduate.”

Graduates who participated have saved thousands of dollars for post-secondary studies and many schools in the area have implemented the program. Meanwhile, current high schoolers are seeing some benefits right now.

“It’s very beneficial in preparing you for more difficult and more involved coursework,” said junior Karlie Blissenbach. “It’s always a great introduction to help you into college.”

“I think it was mostly helpful because it exposes you to college courses,” added junior Harmony Black. “It allows you to understand how the college environment works.”

“It’s helpful in the long run and gives some prior knowledge on the real world, and it’s a great way to learn,” said junior Mason Tribelo.

“I think it’s a good way to get credits for high school and college and it’s an introduction to the next level,” said classmate K.J. Kovar. “The professors help you out because they know you aren’t at the college level yet and I appreciate that.”