TRIADELPHIA - West Liberty University officials announced Monday the West Virginia Board of Education has granted a waiver permitting WLU to establish the Advanced Academy of West Virginia, an accelerated learning program for high school juniors and seniors.
The Advanced Academy is a program for high-achieving Marshall and Ohio County high school students interested in early entrance to college courses. The academic offerings will simultaneously fulfill West Liberty University's general studies courses while meeting high school graduation requirements.
"Anytime we can come together in public education to develop a great opportunity to address the need of kids who need enrichment and additional acceleration, that's a great thing to do," Marshall County Superintendent Fred Renzella said. "This is a huge benefit - the fact that we're opening the university to high school students."
According to Renzella, this will be the first educational program in West Virginia to build a relationship between a four-year university and a high school. Through the Advance Academy, students can potentially graduate high school with not only a diploma, but also with two years of college credit under their belts. This means that students would only have to complete two years of study at a four-year university. It can all be accomplished locally as well, which means huge savings for families.
"I can foresee in the future where you're going to have your high schools and colleges connected. You're probably going to have a six-year degree instead of a four-year high school diploma," Renzella said. "You can see this cascade of development - the fact that education is non-stop. We're preparing kids to be life-long learners."
The program was developed in cooperation with school district in Marshall and Ohio counties with assistance from the Regional Education Service Agency 6.
"We are very very pleased to be a partner in this program with West Liberty and Marshall County Schools and RESA-6 to provide this option for high-achieving students at Wheeling Park" High School, said Ohio County Schools Superintendent George Krelis. "This is a very exciting program to be able to offer to our community."
High school students will be enrolled in West Liberty University's Honors College, an academic community that provides leadership, scholarship and service for advanced students along with the existing Honors College students. They will all participate in a week-long orientation before the beginning of classes in the fall. They will participate in various team-building activities, study a specific academic theme and explore different models of leadership.