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SHEPHERDSVILLE - The first two years of classes at the Bullitt County campus of Jefferson Community and Technical College have been successful.
Enrollment at the classes have grown by 73 percent over the that time and is 30 percent more than school officials anticipated.
There were seven high school students who participated this past year in a dual credit program.
But Dr. Dan Ash and Donna Miller are not satisfied. They believe the college has much more potential.
In presentations over a recent week to the Bullitt County Public School Board and the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, the educators are excited about the prospects.
Ash presented the EDA board with an update on the campus, which is located on Buffalo Run Road.
With over 363 enrolled in classes, Ash said the college is running out of space as it awaits the funding for a new multi-million facility at the intersection of Interstate 65 and Highway 245.
Part of the discussion now is to see if additional space is located in the former judicial center facility.
A big part of the college’s emphasis is currently on a “transformations” program.
According to Miller, a mission of JCTC is to work with partners like the school system to better prepare students to enter college.
In the first year of the 12 by 12 program - where high school students attend classes at JCTC’s Bullitt County facility - seven seniors participated and each will further their education in college, said Miller.
Each will have 12 credit hours under their belts at a much-reduced cost of $180 per three-hour course.
Thanks to the recruitment efforts at each of the high schools, Miller is looking for 50 students to participate in the coming year.
Looking for guidance and leadership, the first-year participants formed PONG - Pioneers of he Next Generation.
They were responsible for giving feedback to Miller and others and provide a valuable leadership body. The students organized a Start Smart program that will be taken to eighth graders this fall to talk about the importance of starting early to think about college.
An art exhibit is planned this fall and the students presented a skit at a statewide conference.
During its first year of working with the local high school students, Miller said she learned that many are not prepared for college.
Part of the work in the next year will be to form an education council to help set goals and look at resources.
Miller is seeking funds to have staff at each of the high schools to recruit students to college. If grant money is not found, she said someone from JCTC would be in the schools at least monthly to work with students.
Another goal is to get ACT scores to improve, which is important to get into college. While saying they weren’t teaching to the ACT exam, Miller said it was important that students were learning material that they would be expected to know.
“I think this will be a fabulous year for us,” said Miller. “We want kids who are ready to go to college.”
David Marshall, director of secondary education with the school system, said he has been impressed with the PONG group and he also expects many more students to take advantage of the college credit classes.
Superintendent Keith Davis said the district has been working on the dual credit courses for a number of years. That, as well as the push for a college campus, is both very good news for the county.