Klamath Promise: Promoting the pathway to college
Story by Samantha Tipler | Herald and News
Bright colored posters show Klamath Basin young people excited about their futures. One, featuring Jahir Ramos, a Lost River High School graduate, quotes him saying:
“I choose college.”
Klamath Community College has produced a set of posters promoting the pathways students can take that seamlessly blend high school and college, working toward a career.
We are trying to make a cultural change/shift in our community,” said Jamie Jennings, vice president of academic affairs at KCC. “We want all high school students to have access and awareness regarding college opportunities.”
More students are taking advantage of opportunities like the Advanced Diploma Program, where students stay enrolled as fifth-year seniors and attend a free year at KCC.
This year, for the first time, the state of Oregon is helping fund two years of free college for 2016 graduates through the Oregon Promise. Once students apply for and receive all other state and federal assistance, the Oregon Promise program picks up the bill. For the first year there is a total $10 million available for those starting college in the fall of 2016.
Other programs, such as dual credit in high school classrooms, or College Now, where students are bused to KCC for college level classes, give students a chance to start their college career before they finish high school.
“Traditionally, the opportunity to take college classes during high school was only available for the top 10 percent of high school students,” Jennings said. “We want to increase the awareness that college can be an option for all high school students.
“The CTE pathways posters highlight career technical education opportunities for our local students that any student could start today.”
KCC has 16 pathways that lead to certificates. Dual-credit programs are organized by counselors at each high school.
The posters feature the following pathways:
- Education and teaching
- Health occupations (nursing)
- Computer technology
- Automotive technology
“College isn’t just about math, writing, and science classes,” Jennings said. “College is about careers, and workforce opportunities. We are trying to motivate, encourage and inspire students to get workforce and career aspirations today.”
The posters feature local students, like Jahair Ramos, in an effort to remind students of the opportunities close to home.
“We used real local kids to model and mentor our college going philosophy,” Jennings said. “Students they recognize, students they know, are being successful in college right now.”