Looking at the Issues Header
June 6, 2008
Looking at the Week Header
Chancellor Eric Fingerhut
Fingerhut's Community Forum Video Online
A full-length video of the May 30, 2008 Board of Regents' Community Conversations Tour with
Chancellor Fingerhut entitled "Breaking Barriers Between K-12 and Higher Education" is available for viewing on the Ohio Channel's web site.

Elected Officials Briefing
Dr. Joseph Rochford was part of a capacity crowd that attended the Elected Officials Briefing of the Stark Chambers' Association presented
by the Fund for Our Economic Future. The meeting held at Walsh University on June 4, 2008 addressed the rising costs of government and what collaborative efforts can be pursued to streamline operations in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

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The Stark County Promise

When it was announced in 2006, the "Kalamazoo Promise" sent shock waves through its mid-sized Michigan community. A group of anonymous donors had promised scholarships of up to $40,000 for all district graduates going on to college. The annual cost was projected at a staggering $12 million. What followed is not surprising. Housing gained in value as much as 15%. District enrollment began to soar.

Other communities across the nation began to look at ways to duplicate the "Promise." Few can do so. In Cincinnati a group is trying. They need to raise $500 million. Yet, there is one Ohio community that is quietly putting into place a multi-faceted program that will emerge as a new kind of promise. That community is Stark County.

When Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced in January a plan called Seniors to Sophomores to allow seniors to earn their first year of college at no charge while in high school, many people said it could not be done. In April the state offered forty-two initial pilot grants to districts to work out the details. Eleven of these grants went to Stark County*, more than any other county in the state.

Why here? Seniors to Sophomores is more than just giving students an opportunity to spend their senior year on a college campus. It's also about using all the other postsecondary opportunities available to students to earn college credit while in high school. For the last several years, Stark districts and colleges have been working to maximize these opportunities. Here is a re-cap:
  • 2 Girl GradsIn 2006-07, 396 Stark
    students took college courses under the Post Secondary Enrollment Option.
  • Early College High School
    now enrolls 223 students simultaneously working on a high school diploma and college associate degree.
  • Advanced Placement scores
    of three or better were earned by 1,291 students qualifying
    for college credit in 2007.
  • Tech Prep programs across
    the county enroll 1,769 students, giving the opportunity to bank credit for when they
    go on to college.
These are officially reported figures and baseline only. Numbers for
the 2007-08 academic year increased substantially and larger increases are expected in the fall. Using a very conservative figure of $309 for a three-hour course, these baseline figures alone represent nearly $4 million a year in college savings for Stark students and parents. Those savings are here today, and the Stark County Promise will continue to grow.


*The eleven grants were awarded to Canton City, Canton Local, Fairless Local, Jackson Local, Lake Local, Massillon City, North Canton City, Osnaburg Local, Perry Local, Plain Local and Sandy Valley Local school districts. The grant period is for one year from July 2008 through June 2009.
About the Partnership Long Header
The Stark Education Partnership, Inc., is a 501(c)-3 non-profit education reform support organization in Stark County, Ohio crossing the lines of 17 public school districts. The Partnership collaborates with educators, business, community and civic leaders to create and respond to opportunities that will add substantial and measurable value to education.

Questions or comments? Email aoneill@edpartner.org or call 330-452-0829. Visit our website at http://www.edpartner.org
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Stark Education Partnership | 400 Market Avenue North, Suite B-Plaza | Canton | OH | 44702