NEWCOMB - With added North Country Community College (NCCC) courses and a thriving distance learning network, Newcomb Central School (NCS) hopes to soon graduate high school students with an associates degree.
The relationship between the two institutions grew from a bridge program, launched last year, to introduce Newcomb students to college courses over their distance learning network.
The network has also been fostering communication between North Country schools including Newcomb, Indian Lake, Long Lake, Minerva, Johnsburg and other districts statewide. Each school has the ability to record classes and broadcast them live to students tuning in from other locations as well as hold regional meetings between district administrators and faculty members.
Through last year's pilot program, NCS was able to offer their students the opportunity to take classes from NCCC separated from professors and other students only by a television screen.
Many Newcomb teachers have also become adjunct professors at NCCC, allowing local students to take college level classes from their own teachers.
"Programs like this only work when teachers are willing to participate," said Skip Hults, superintendent at NCS. "It speaks volumes that all of our teachers came on board on a volunteer basis."
NCS currently offers 36 college credits and Hults is confident that number will grow as early as this fall. Once in place, students who graduate with a high school diploma will also have the opportunity to graduate with an associates degree.
Not only is this broadening the scope of rural education, it is also making these students more attractive to colleges and universities, according to Hults.
"The program gives students confidence in their ability to go to college and also opens their eyes to the possibility of a four year degree," he said.
NCS is now considered a campus of NCCC and the classes offered meet both New York State and college level standards.