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Community college partners with Bayfield school district to offer college courses

High school students can enroll for free

Bayfield High School and

“I tell people, on March 13, Bayfield became a college town,” said Bayfield School District Superintendent Kevin Aten.

PCC’s main campus is located in Mancos. The college created a similar partnership with Durango High School in 2018. The new Bayfield PCC site will operate out of the former Bayfield Primary School at 658 East South St. Math, English, psychology, science and humanities classes will be offered at the new PCC location.

Career and technical education courses are available to support students who are interested in construction trades, culinary arts, emergency medical services, health professions, business and accounting.

Students from surrounding schools such as Ignacio and Pagosa Springs can also enroll. Upperclassmen sign up for PCC courses during regular school registration and will earn concurrent credit for high school and college.

“A really aggressive student can actually end up with their associates and high school diploma at the same time,” said PCC President Patty Erjavec.

The courses are guaranteed to transfer to any four-year college in the state. Tuition is free for high school students, which is paid by the school district as part of Colorado legislation.

“No student or family member has to take on the financial burden,” Erjavec said.

PCC will occupy four classrooms in the old primary school to start. There is potential to utilize more classrooms in the future. Some concurrent credit course are offered at the high school and are taught by higher learning-certified high school teachers with master’s degrees.

Staffing and scheduling will be determined by the amount of interest.

“We have the flexibility of offering day, evening, weekend and Friday only (schedules),” Erjavec said. “We will be driven by the community.”

PCC also offers a virtual classroom course. Virtual classrooms are different than self-guided online courses, though these are offered as well. In the virtual course, students connect to a classroom through video and interact with the instructor and the rest of the class in real time.

“It’s seamless,” Aten said. “It’s amazing how it works.”

Students can take a hybrid of online and in-classroom courses. The goal is to make earning college credit as easy and accessible as possible.

Aten said they will be moving their alternative school, Wolverine Academy, into the old primary school to encourage students to enroll in the college courses. Aten said there is also an option for students to take a fifth year of high school. This allows them to enroll in PCC classes and earn more college credit for free.

Additionally, students who get their associate degrees in high school are guaranteed admission into any four-year college in Colorado.

For non-high school students, tuition will be $447 for a three-credit course. For two 15-credit semesters, tuition for the year would be $4,467. This is about one-third of in-state university tuition, Aten said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to provide quality academic experience in a region,” Erjavec said.

prt@pinerivertimes.com



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