Getting a head start

Junior high students can earn high school, college credit

By Cecilia Fox -

HUBER HEIGHTS — At their meeting Thursday night, the Huber Heights City Schools Board of Education approved curriculum updates that will allow some junior high school students to earn high school credit while enrolled in college courses.

Spurred by the inclusion of seventh and eighth graders in the State of Ohio’s College Credit Plus program, the district created a program of studies that includes not just high schoolers, but junior high students as well.

“We do have some seventh graders that have signed up for College Credit Plus courses and so as soon as they’ve enrolled and been accepted to a college or university of their choice, then they’re starting to build their high school transcript,” assistant superintendent Shelley Hilderbrand said. “So we want to help prepare them.”

Staff at Wayne High School and Weisenborn Junior High worked together to develop programs that begin in seventh grade.

“This is a huge step,” board member Mark Combs said, thanking the teachers and administrators who worked on the program.

The board also approved an agreement with Sinclair Community College to provide college level courses to students participating in Ohio’s College Credit Plus program.

College Credit Plus is open to all students in grades 7-12 and they are not required to pay for college course tuition.

As part of this agreement, Sinclair is willing to cover 75 percent of textbook costs, Superintendent Sue Gunnell said.

All College Credit Plus courses will be computed into a student’s GPA using the same scale as Advanced Placement classes, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

While the district has a formal agreement with Sinclair, students are able to take classes at other schools participating in the College Credit Plus program.

Several Monticello faculty members presented The Whole Child, a comprehensive look at how the school addresses student needs.

The presentation highlighted the school’s participation in programs like Engineering is Elementary, which offers early engineering lessons.

The school is also focused on creating a culture of kindness in a variety of ways, including weekly character education lessons and a programs that pairs sixth graders with kindergarten buddies to encourage positive behavior.

Students are also encouraged to give back to the community though programs like St. Jude’s Math-a-thon. Monticello students have contributed more than $42,000 to date by participating in this program.

Monticello staff and students also participated in a water drive to support the residents of Flint, Mich.

“Many of these programs are also implemented in all of our buildings,” Hilderbrand pointed out.

In other business, the board approved several out of state trips for high school athletic teams.

The varsity baseball team will travel to Alexandria, Ky., to participate in a double-header against Bishop Brossart High School on Friday, April 22. The team will return through Sunday, April 24.

The indoor track team will participate in the New Balance Indoor Nationals on March 11 In New York City, returning March 13.

The varsity track squad will travel to Sevierville, Tenn., to compete in the Smoky Mountain Track Classic from April 7 through April 10.

All of the trips are at no cost to the district and the student athletes will not miss any school.

The board also accepted the donation of $100 from VFW Post 3283 and the anonymous donation of $160 to the Wayne High School Crime Watch program.

Several parents raised concerns about bullying at Valley Forge Elementary School during the citizens comments portion of the meeting.

The parents detailed for the board the negative experiences their children have had this year with other students, saying they wanted the board to be aware of the problem.
Junior high students can earn high school, college credit

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.