Co-Lin tables early college program

Published 9:46 am Friday, April 8, 2016

Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s plans of partnering with the Natchez-Adams School District, the Mississippi Department of Education and the curriculum unit at Alcorn State University on the development of an early college high school program in Natchez have been put on hold.

The Co-Lin Board of Trustees voted to table and defer the agreement between Co-Lin and the Natchez-Adams School District for a year at Thursday’s board of trustees meeting.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles presented the board with a memorandum of understanding regarding the tuition and fees for the early college program, providing a large amount of new information since the board last discussed the program.

Ronnie Nettles

Ronnie Nettles

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Despite the recent progress, Nettles recommended the board table the agreement in the best interest of the college and the program due to changes in the Natchez-Adams School District.

“In the last week, there have been a lot of questions about how we should proceed with this and whether now is the appropriate time to move forward,” Nettles said. “I will tell you, there have been some changes in leadership in the Natchez-Adams School District, and I believe it would be in the best interest of the college to table this MOU until a further date. I think we’re on the right track here. There has been a lot of work done. I think that there is a lot of opportunity in the future, but I think it would probably be in the best interest of the program to ensure that there is wide-scale, wide-spread support for the early college program within the new leadership of the Natchez-Adams School District.”

Nettles said by tabling the agreement for a year, it gives the two parties a timeline and the opportunity to plan.

The early college program would essentially move a group of ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th graders from their high school onto Co-Lin and Alcorn’s campus, Nettles said.

One of these schools is already in existence at East Mississippi Community College, but a different model is being proposed for the program in Natchez, he said.

“In the early college model, students literally start taking classes as early as the ninth grade,” Nettles said. “Now typically those college classes are things like orientation or study skills, but as they advance through the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grade, the number of hours that they take at the college level increases.”

In other board business:

• The board introduced Chris Kent, the Franklin County School District interim superintendent, as a new board member.

• The board approved the purchase of a new Chevrolet Impala on a state contract. The vehicle’s estimated cost is not to exceed $20,000.