NEWCOMB - Distance learning programs have been present in local schools since the mid 1990s.
These programs foster interaction between schools including Newcomb, Indian Lake, Minerva and Johnsburg and other districts statewide. It allows them to record classes and broadcast them live to students tuning in from other locations.
Some schools, however, have taken the program a step further this year and are offering college level courses over the distance learning network.
In cooperation with North Country Community College (NCCC), Newcomb Central School (NCS) has kicked off a program that offers their students the opportunity to take classes from NCCC separated from professors and other students only by a television screen.
NCS has been experimenting with the program over the past few years and has recently expanded it.
Their students underwent a college enrollment process at the beginning of this year and were required to meet all standards including an 85 average for admittance into the program and to obtain a grade of C or higher to receive college level credit.
Not only is this broadening the scope of rural education, it is also making these students more attractive to colleges and universities.
"The advantage for our students is that it is now possible for them to graduate with over 40 college credits," said NCS Superintendent Skip Hults.
NCS is now considered a campus of NCCC and the classes offered meet both state and college level standards.
In addition to providing students with a valuable opportunity, all content teachers at NCS in subjects of math, science, social studies, English and business have been appointed as adjunct professors at NCCC.
The NCS Board of Education has made an effort to keep the classes affordable by subsidizing part of the cost presented to the students enrolled in the NCCC classes. The cost of a single course is $50, of which the BOE subsidizes $40.