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Fast Track option allows students to earn an Associate in the Arts degree by the time they graduate from high school

Published Thursday, June 14, 2018
by Elizabeth Townsend

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By Angel Solomon
As printed in the Caswell Messenger

Emily Buchanan, the Caswell County Schools’ Secondary Curriculum & CTE Director, recently at PCC’s Caswell Campus presented a fast-track option to current eighth-grade Math I students and their parents. She is excited about this new track because “This option plots a course for participants to graduate from Bartlett Yancey High School and Piedmont Community College within four years. To be eligible for the fast-track option, students must successfully complete Math I in the eighth grade, submit an application form and two written teacher recommendations, and demonstrate college readiness on ACT/PSAT/SAT or pass the PCC placement tests for English and Math. Application forms and teacher recommendation letters are due to Emily Pruitt at DMS on May 1, 2018. Teachers should write a formal letter and should address the student’s future goals and ability to handle academic rigor and challenge.”

Emily hopes eligible students are drawn to this program because it “makes it easier for them to walk the stage and graduate with a high school and college degree – an Associate in the Arts.” To eligible students, Emily says, “You are the first students to have the opportunity to graduate from Bartlett Yancey High School and Piedmont Community College within four years with both a High School Diploma and an Associate in Arts degree. You will be able to transfer directly to a four-year college or university with four semesters worth of credits already completed.”

This program will not be easy. Emily explains, “We are really targeting our highflyers who can handle an extremely rigorous course load on their own.” Once students get into this program, they must work hard to stay in this program. Emily says, “Once you’re in the program, you must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all high school courses during the program; maintain a “C” throughout the program for transfer credit; take courses in a specific sequence to meet the requirements of the CCP Associate in Arts Pathway prior to taking the remaining courses towards the Associate in Arts; take more than four courses in some semesters; and take some summer courses. You can still participate in sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities.”

This may seem like a lot to ask of eighth grade students, but Emily wants eligible students/applicants to know that they will not be alone. They will have support. “…resources available to you: High School guidance counselors, a PCC liaison, free summer meals and transportation, and free textbooks.” Emily explains that the Board of Education has allocated the funds to provide the free summer meals and transportation, and free textbooks.

Emily sees this program growing in the future. “We have about twenty students who qualify. We want to get to a point where we have at least 100 students, four years after the program starts.” Emily says that these are the next steps for eighth grade students who are eligible and wish to apply for this program. “Work really, really hard in Math I, secure and submit two teacher recommendations and a completed application form to Emily Pruitt at Dillard by May 1, and wait for a “welcome” letter- sent via mail by June 30, 2018.” For more information on the Caswell Fast Track Program, contact Emily Buchanan at (336) 694-4116, ext. 34!