Early college program planned for Clare Schools

John Miller is the newest member of the Clare Board of Education. He was appointed to fill the seat of Dave Maxwell, who resigned last month.

John Miller is the newest member of the Clare Board of Education. He was appointed to fill the seat of Dave Maxwell, who resigned last month.

By Pat Maurer

Beginning next year, Clare students  who are college ready will have an option to earn an Associates degree from Mid Michigan Community College while they are still in high school, and at no cost for the credits they earn.
Pioneer High School Director Ed Hubel explained the program, which is similar to dual enrollment. He said this year’s eligible sophomores (there are 25) would contract with the school for a three-year program that could earn 60 college credits and a degree from MMCC.
The program would include a “13th” year of being a high school student while attending MMCC. The program would begin with students in their junior year. Those students would agree to continue with the program – attending high school for half days and MMCC for half days – in their junior and senior year and earning 30 college credits. After graduating, those students would continue to be Clare high school students for another year, during which they would attend MMCC to earn another 30 credits.
Because after graduation, the students would still be in Clare High School, the district would get a foundation allowance for them, which would pay for the tuition at MMCC.
The only costs for the students would be their books and transportation. Degrees could be earned in Liberal Arts, Health or Technology.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for the kids and the school,” said Hubel, “but it is a three-year commitment for the student.
Clare Board of Education President Tom Weaver said, “It is a commitment , but I think it is a great opportunity. I am very excited about it.”
Superintendent Doniel Pummell said, “There are 25 sophomores that are college ready. We hope to start this new program next year.”
At a Special Organizational Meeting just before the regular board meeting, officers were elected or  re-elected for another year. Tom Weaver will be board president;  Steve Stark was elected as vice-president; Carol Santini will serve as secretary for another year; and Sue Murawski will be the board treasurer.
No changes were made in the meeting dates or times, with regular meetings set for the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. except for the August meeting which will be held on the third Tuesday, due to a sports event conflict.
The designation of banks, legal services and audit services will remain the same as will the agenda format.
The Superintendent’s secretary Brittany Anderson was designated to oversee  elections and post public  notices and the  board also adopted the “Governance Team Standards of Practice,” and the  Board/Superintendent Standards of Practice.
Appointments  were also made to various committees on the board.
In another matter at the regular meeting, board members were honored by administrators and staff last Monday evening in honor of School Board Recognition month. As a treat for the board, Superintendent Pummell arranged a brief performance by jazz band students, and presented them with certificates from staff members.
In her report to the board, Pummell announced that the number of pre-school classes for the GSRP program (Grade School Readiness Program) will increase from three to five. One of the additional two classes for the coming year will be in Clare’s school, she said.
Board members also welcomed another new board trustee – John Miller, who replaces Dave Maxwell after his resignation last month. Miller is the second recent new board member. Lauren Cole was also recently appointed to fill the seat of Dick Shively, who also resigned from the board.
Board Administrative Assistant Brittanny Anderson presented new changes to the district’s website, explaining that board policies are now available for anyone to peruse on the site.
Finally the board approved the payment of December bills totaling $270,961.09.

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