Monday, October 28, 2019

CASC, SHS Debut High-Tech Classroom

Carl Albert State College and Sallisaw High School unveiled a new innovative classroom Thursday at the high school.

The state-of-the-art classroom is the result of a collaboration between the two educational institutions. It was designed to create a comfortable, college-style environment for SHS juniors and seniors to earn concurrent college credits from CASC without leaving the high school campus.

The state-of-the-art classroom is equipped with Zoom, a video communications software service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration. Called a “Zoom room,” the classroom is equipped with a laptop, monitor or smartboard that can connect with Zoom software.

CASC serves 30 high schools and has 316 concurrently enrolled students. Sallisaw High School has 83 students concurrently enrolled at CASC.

Although concurrent enrollment through CASC isn't new, in the past students had to leave the SHS campus and drive to the college campus. This eliminated the concurrent option for students without transportation. It also caused some concerns for the safety of students traveling to the classes.

Dr. Jay Falkner, CASC President, pointed out the time saving aspect of being able to stay on campus for college classes. "By eliminating drive time, students can now take three classes instead of just one," Falkner said.

There are currently four different college classes offered in the Zoom room and each of them are at full capacity. Free tutoring is also available to students that might need it.

Dr. Sinclair Armstrong, Jr., a donor for the project, said, "The classroom will give our children the opportunity to go to college at a reduced cost and without having to leave home.”

The technology will allow CASC to broadcast classes to any school with an internet connection, said instructor Jordan Pace, who teaches government and history to SHS’s concurrently enrolled students in the new classroom.

Sallisaw Schools’ Superintendent Randy Wood said the high school is pleased to be a part of the project. He noted that the number of students who qualify for the program based on test scores and other criteria, has consistently risen since the concurrent enrollment program began years ago.

“(The concurrent enrollment program) lets a kid realize their capabilities by providing them with the college experience at a young age,” Wood said.

Bill Nowlin, CASC’s Vice President of Enrollment Management, said the program “provides another opportunity for students’ access to higher education that didn’t previously exist.” Nowlin said CASC plans to go “a step further” by creating sponsorship programs in each community in the area that will allow community members to donate to specific students. Plans for this program are still in progress.

Armstrong pointed out that the concurrent enrollment program helps all students, regardless of their backgrounds. Students lacking the resources often get left behind for fear that going on to college is beyond their means. Concurrent enrollment gives those students a better chance at reaching their educational goals.

“This program shows industries wanting to move into the area that our students are just as competitive as students in bigger cities,” Armstrong said.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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