RCC boosts partnership with Scotland County Schools

College paves path for students to earn two-year degree

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — Academic officials often hinge their careers on an ability to anticipate. After two years on the job, then, Camille Gomes and Kary Edmonson might deserve a raise.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Camille Goins, left, of Scotland County Schools and Kary Edmondson, of Richmond Community College.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Camille Goins, left, of Scotland County Schools and Kary Edmondson, of Richmond Community College.

On Tuesday, the two women — Gomes as director of career and technical education with Scotland County Schools and Edmondson as Richmond Community College‘s director of K-12 partnerships in Richmond and Scotland counties — announced a partnership between SCS and RCC that aims to bolster high school students’ ability to graduate high school with most, if not all, of a two-year degree in hand but also hands-on training and certifications to, in some cases, directly enter the workforce via the college pathways dual enrollment program.

The announcement was made during the RCC Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting at the main Hamlet campus.

The deal, to be finalized at the next Scotland County Board of Education meeting on Monday and effective July 1 in time for implementation this fall, will essentially give RCC the run of Building No. 5 on the Scotland High School campus currently used for RCC welding classes.

But from this fall forward, the menu of course options is expected to grow significantly to more than a dozen courses, including mechanical engineering, drafting, computer information systems, CAD and more.

Both Goins and Edmondson have been in their respective positions for about two years, and in that time their “efforts have revitalized the partnership and relation with Scotland County Schools in a very positive way.”

It’s a big win for Scotland High School students, as they’ll be able to take, free of charge, courses that help transition them from a typical teen to a tried-and-true, and certified, future employee. SCS’s career and technical education program will be responsible for the purchase of students’ textbooks. The cost of tuition is at no charge to the students.

After a one-year trial during the 2013-14 academic year, Edmondson said she and Goins got together and determined that “we can make this bigger and better. We kind of came up with a plan to do that.”

Last year, 30 students were enrolled in the program. The number of pre-registered students for the fall program is 270, and that’s before the student body has been made aware of the breadth of classes available beginning this fall after RCC hires a full-time instructor, with additional hires to come in future years.

Goins said she has started to recruit potential students for the program at the middle school level. Dr. Dale McInnis, RCC president, was all for the initiative that could lead students to a free two-year degree.

“That’s where I think we can be in a very short period of time,” McInnis said.

RCC will be responsible for the cost associated with renaming and erecting signs for Building No. 5, but the consensus Tuesday was that it was a cost well worth the benefits.

RCC will have the course offerings for the 2015-16 year finalized by Nov. 30, 2014. Students entering the program in the fall of 2015 should know their schedules by the previous March, according to the memorandum of agreement signed Monday by both McInnis and Dr. Ron Hargrave, Scotland County Schools superintendent.

Also on Tuesday:

*  Trustee James McCaskill announced his resignation from the board. McCaskill said he and his wife have moved out of Richmond County and though the board regulations would allow him to continue to serve as he lives in a contiguous county, he has decided against it.

* The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to modify a policy that previously required all incoming students to take a keyboarding test. Dr. Dale McInnis suggested the requirement was unnecessary for some students, and costly. In certain study paths, the test would still be required. In situations the test is not required but an instructor finds a student who needs assistance, the student will be referred to the Academic Success Center for help.

* The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a change in who can apply for the nursing program. Until Tuesday night, only nursing program applicants who had completed their CNA could apply. After the board’s unanimous vote, those who don’t yet have their CNA can apply but they must demonstrate they have their CNA being being accepted into the program.

* The Board of Trustees tabled a motion from member Bert Unger about renaming RCC’s four parking lots, not including the one adjacent to Cole Auditorium, in honor of retired RCC staff, faculty or trustees.

While buildings and other structures are named for non-RCC related individuals, Unger said this would be a modest opportunity to “not sell ’em to the highest bidder.”

The motion was not on the agenda and caught fellow board members by surprised. McCaskill suggested the matter be studied by a committee and brought back to the board at a later date.

* Thomas McDonald was introduced as the new president of the Student Government Association. By holding that position, McDonald is an ex-officio member of the board.

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