Norwin considers more college-level courses for students

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Students at Norwin High School soon may be able to take college credit courses from four different colleges and universities.

At Monday night's meeting, Norwin school board members approved changes to the high school course list that include potential cooperative agreements with Indiana University and Westmoreland County Community College.

The district has offered college credit courses through Seton Hill University and the University of Pittsburgh for about five years.

The district is developing a dual-enrollment agreement with Indiana University of Pennsylvania that would allow Norwin students to take three-credit IUP online courses for $345.20, about one-fourth the cost per course at the university.

Tracy McNelly, assistant superintendent of secondary education, had discussed a proposal to offer courses from Westmoreland County Community College at a school board workshop meeting earlier this month.

She said the district has started discussions with WCCC about allowing Norwin High School students to take courses not provided in agreements with other colleges, such as computer-assisted drafting and engineering design.

Mrs. McNelly said the Seton Hill and Pitt classes are taught at Norwin High School by Norwin teachers.

Before credit courses were offered, professors from Pitt and Seton Hill went over Norwin summaries of what would be taught in each course, and either approved them or asked the district to make changes to make the classes equal to college work, Mrs. McNelly said.

Students pay $220 per course for each three-credit course from Seton Hill and Pitt taught at Norwin, a fraction of what they would pay for those classes in college, Mrs. McNelly said.

The Seton Hill courses offered are Introduction to psychology, Introduction to American history, Principles of accounting, calculus 1, 2 and 3, Spanish language and culture, pre-calculus, basic composition, chemistry with a lab and biology with a lab.

Pitt courses offered are college French 1, computer science and programming, basic applied statistics, rhetoric and communication, and website design and development.

Pitt requires the district to use the university's standardized tests for courses taught at Norwin.

School directors also approved changing the departure time for the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center"from 7:45 a.m. until 7:20 a.m. The change would allow technical school students to take four courses at Norwin in the afternoon, including science courses with labs, and also would allow seniors to attend classes at the technology center, eat lunch at Norwin, then work at paid internships in the afternoons, Mrs. McNelly said. Students also will be allowed to start classes at the technology center in ninth grade, she said.

A district physical education teacher also has developed an exercise physiology course, Mrs. McNelly said. The course would be useful to students interested in careers in sports management, sports training and fitness.

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer:

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