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by Tommy Wells, Ranger College
Make no mistake about, the Texas education system could be about to get a major overhaul, and students throughout the state will have greater access to post-high school educational opportunities.
Ranger College officials met with area high school leaders on June 16 at its Erath County Advanced Training Center in Stephenville to discuss the pending changes coming via House Bill 505. In all, approximately two dozen high school superintendents, principals and school board representatives attended the meeting to discus the changes to the Texas educational.
The biggest change HB 505 will have on students, college officials noted, is when high school students will have access to dual-credit classes. Under HB 505 students will become eligible to take post-high school courses as soon as they enter their ninth grade years. In the past, students were allowed to take dual-credit courses on as a junior or senior.
That change will mean high schools and colleges will have to work closer than they have in the past, said Ranger College President, Dr. William Campion.
“Basically, this means schools will have to partner with an institution of higher education,” Campion said. “We know it is going to be a burden, especially on counselors, but we want everyone to know we will do anything we can to help make it easier. This is something we’re all going to have to work on as this will allow those students that want to get college hours earlier.
Campion said HB 505 will also remove restrictions on how many courses a student can take during their high school careers, and remove the requirement for special permission for students to take classes.
According to Ranger College Dual-Credit Liaison Cherie Beltran, under HB 505 colleges will only need permission from the students’ parents and the high school, instead of special permissions required previously for freshmen and sophomores.
All of which means high schools and colleges are going to have to work together to ensure dual-credit students get the classes they need.
“There are a number of ways we can work with schools and students, especially in setting up degree plans and helping determine when a student should take a certain class. We just want everyone to know we are happy to help with that,” said Beltran.
Campion agreed, saying the college’s faculty was determined to help high schools adjust to the changing landscape.
“We take very seriously the relationships we have with the high schools,” said Campion. “We want to try and accommodate and work with them as much as we can.”
Ranger College Developmental Studies Director, Dr. Heather Ortiz also informed school leaders the importance of enrolling students into a College Prep program if they are not college ready by their senior year. The program, she said, would help ensure students are prepared to succeed at the college level.
In addition to the discussion on HB 5 and HB 505, Ranger College officials also took the opportunity to brief school officials on two of its newer opportunities, including an expanded welding program and the upcoming launch of a high-tech machining program.
Earlier this month, Ranger College announced it would be offering a welding program at its Stephenville campus beginning this fall.
A new machining program is on the horizon, RC officials noted. Thanks to a pair of Texas Workforce Commission grants, the college is developing a curriculum to offer a high-tech machining program that can train students in machining, automation and, eventually, robotics.
“We think this is going to be a huge program,” said Dixon Bailey, the college’s Vice President of Workforce Development. “The grant programs are giving Ranger College the ability to create a high-tech career program that will help students develop the skills to obtain well-paying jobs.”
Ranger College is scheduled to hold a meeting with Brownwood area schools on Tuesday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. at its Brownwood campus. All area high school representatives and officials are invited to attend.
For more information on HB 5 or HB 505 issues, contact Cherie Beltran via e-mail at email@example.com. For more information on the Ranger College machining program, contact Dr. Kerry Schindler via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on other Ranger College workforce development programs, contact Dixon Bailey at email@example.com.
Ranger College is one of the fastest growing colleges in the nation and currently comprised of the main campus in Ranger and additional centers in Stephenville, Comanche, Brownwood and Olney.