Grand Valley, Rockford Public Schools sign early college agreement

President Thomas J. Haas, left, and Michael Shibler, superintendent for Rockford Public Schools, shake hands and sign an early college agreement April 28.
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President Thomas J. Haas, left, and Michael Shibler, superintendent for Rockford Public Schools, shake hands and sign an early college agreement April 28.
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Through a new partnership with Grand Valley, Rockford High School students can take college courses in a health professions program without leaving their school.

University leaders joined Rockford Public Schools representatives to officially sign the early college agreement April 28 in Rockford.

The early college program will begin in the fall; students who participate can obtain six credit hours in the Allied Health Science bachelor's degree program, which will be taught at Rockford by a Grand Valley faculty member and will include discussion sessions led by a Rockford high school teacher. Two courses will be offered: Medical Terminology and Introduction to Health Care.

President Thomas J. Haas said he was pleased to collaborate with Rockford Public Schools. "We've invested mightily in our nursing and health professions programs, and what we're seeing is that when our students graduate from these programs, they stay in the area to work," Haas said.

Michael Shibler, superintendent for RPS, said the program provides high school students with college experience, an early look at possible careers and helps to reduce their college loan debt.

"This is really a tremendous advantage for our students and their parents," Shibler said.

Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for Health, and Roy Olsson, dean of the College of Health Professions, also attended the signing. 

Nagelkerk said it works to a student's advantage to take college credits early. "This gives high school students an opportunity to explore health as a career and to get a leg up on their first semester of college, with six credits," Nagelkerk said.