AH Students Can Earn Associate Degrees By Graduation

October 18, 2018 GMT

CLARKS SUMMIT — In three years, Abington Heights High School students will receive associate degrees with their high school diplomas. Those future degrees, as well as more opportunities for transferable credits and building career pathways in high school through Lackawanna College’s Level Up program, spurred Pennsylvania Department of Education Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman, Ph.D., to tour Abington Heights on Wednesday. This spring, the college announced Level Up, an innovative, dual-enrollment path to reduce the costs and barriers of going to college. The Clarks Summit high school is among 20 schools throughout the state enrolled in the program. More than 90 Abington Heights sophomores and juniors signed up for Level Up, said Andrew Snyder, high school principal. Abington Heights students told Volkman, a former teacher, Level Up helps them ease financial concerns, saves time by completing general requirement classes early and will help to better manage a double major in college. Administration heard from graduates that the school’s rigorous coursework gave them an advantage once in college, so Abington Heights researched becoming an associate degree-granting institution. However, legal requirements stopped the district, said Superintendent Michael Mahon, Ph.D., told Volkman. Level Up helps fulfill that mission. “College level work should equal college level credit,” said Snyder. Snyder worked with Lackawanna to align classes offered at Abington with the college’s courses. For example, Abington Height’s English II Honors course is equivalent to Lackawanna’s College Writing course. Current sophomore students now can earn by graduation an associate degree in professional studies, business administration, criminal justice or human services. Volkman said the program also gets students into the workforce earlier. The program is not retroactive but the older students can still receive college credits for their high school coursework that is transferable to public and private colleges nationwide, including the University of Scranton and Temple University in Philadelphia. They also take classes at Lackawanna College. Volkman was impressed by Abington Heights and said the school is fulfilling Gov. Tom Wolf’s mission to make Pennsylvania students career-ready. For details on the program, visit www.lackawanna.edu/academics/level-up-lackawanna. Contact the writer: kbolus@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5114; @kbolusTT on Twitter