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Stark students make measurable progress

Posted Dec 28, 2009 @ 05:14 PM
Last update Dec 28, 2009 @ 05:15 PM

We are fortunate to live in Stark County because this is a place where education is valued. Recognition is growing that the more educated we become and the better our work force becomes, the more attractive we are to the employers already located here and to those businesses considering coming to Stark County.

High school graduation rates are increasing, and many high schools have made dramatic gains during the past five years. High school to college going rates are increasing, with focused emphasis on decreasing remediation rates, and overall college enrollments and college graduation rates are increasing. All of these gains are achieved by design.

College professors, teachers and administrators preschool through grade 16 are working together and independently to make Stark County the most educated county in the nation.

Educators do not limit themselves to merely meeting the requirements set by the state of Ohio, federal regulations or accrediting entities; they are creating new programs designed to produce ever-increasing opportunities for students.

Students of all ages are responding to these opportunities. Consider these examples:

n In the fall of 2003, Stark State College established a satellite campus in downtown Canton at Timken High School with an enrollment of 23 students. This fall, 937 students were enrolled; 500 are adults and 437 are high school students enrolled in high school-based dual credit or Early College High School.

n Early College High School opened in the fall of 2005. High school teachers from the Canton City Schools and faculty from Stark State College worked together to create an opportunity for low-income students who were the first in the family to go to college to graduate from high school with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.

The success of this program in the first year led to a pilot program in summer 2006 for 65 students from the rest of the Stark County school districts. This year, in addition to the Stark County students enrolled in Advanced Placement and College Career Tech courses, 2,350 high school students are enrolled in college courses taught by high school teachers qualified as adjuncts from Stark State College, the Kent State University Stark Campus, Walsh University, Mount Union College and the University of Akron.

Stark County receives statewide and national recognition for many programs, including but certainly not limited to the SPARK preschool program, the 3R’s program at Canton Local, Care Teams at many middle schools, Early College High School on the downtown campus of Stark State College and now high school-based dual credit college opportunities.

Each college and university is creating programs that support working adults who are attempting to increase their credentials. More information about these programs and the results is available on the Web sites of each school district, the Stark County Educational Service Center, many preschools and all colleges and universities.

We are proud that we now have examples where Stark County exceeds state or national averages.



High school graduation or higher education:

U.S. — 85 percent of population

Ohio — 87.6 percent

Stark County — 88.1 percent


18- to 24-year-olds who have gone to college:

U.S. — 50.4 percent

Ohio — 50.7 percent

Stark County — 51.6 percent   

Source: U.S. Census, 2008


Adrienne O’Neill, Ed.D., is president of the Stark Education Partnership.

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