The senior year is obviously the critical intersection
between K-12 education, and either higher education or the world
of work," said Governor Warner. "But today's high schools
are often working from old models that won't successfully prepare
our kids for productive lives in the 21st century."
Governor Warner's Senior Year Plus initiative has made
Virginia's high schools more
flexible, supportive, and effective in helping all students --
advanced, low-performing or in between.
Specifically, the initiative offers two options that better prepare
students for life after high school while reducing the cost of
college tuition for families. These options are called Path
to Industry Certification
and Early College Scholars Program.
The Governor's Senior Year Plus initiative encourages students
who are not college bound to continue working towards high school
graduation while pursuing technical training for a selected industry
certification, such as a Licensed Practical Nurse or Auto Body
and Collision Technician.
Here's how the program works:
• Participating students and their parents sign a Student
Compact agreeing that the student will complete high
school and then enroll in further technical training to acquire
the appropriate skills and certifications needed to enter a higher-wage
• Typically, students continue to take industry-specific
training at their local community college during the summer
and fall after graduation. Up to one semester of technical training
will be available tuition-free to students in the same calendar
year after graduation from high school, as long as that semester
allows them to complete the certification program.
• This initiative also establishes
teacher-training academies to increase the number of high school
teachers with appropriate industry certifications.
(View a sample list of industry
Under the Governor's Senior Year Plus initiative,
eligible high school seniors can complete their high school
diploma and concurrently earn up to a semester's worth of credits
(15 credit hours) that can be used towards a college degree. These
students are noted in college applications as Early
Students earning a college degree in seven semesters instead
of eight can save an average of $5,000 in tuition. Accelerated
degrees would also help alleviate the expected space crunch from
61,000 additional students projected to seek admission to Virginia
colleges and universities by the year 2010.
The Class of 2005 in Virginia included 6,177 members who earned the Early College Scholar distinction.
Here's how the Early College Scholars program works:
• Students and their parents sign an agreement outlining
the requirements for participation. College-level courses offered
through dual enrollment, International Baccalaureate or Advanced
Placement are available to these students. And up to 1,500 students
are also eligible for assistance on the cost of AP exams.
networks (dubbed a Virtual Advanced Placement
School) give Virginia high school students access
to a broad range of AP courses, regardless of
where they live.
• In addition to being an excellent, all-around
college prep guide, the Virginia
Mentor Web site shows students how they
can take advantage of Advanced Placement, International
Baccalaureate, dual enrollment and other options in order to accelerate
• A statewide coordinator, "virtual" counselors,
and school-based career guidance and academic advising software
all work in support of the Senior Year Plus program.
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