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Early College Agreement Signed

June 24, 2020 by Scott Powell | Gaffney Ledger | 2020news

Cherokee County and SCC early college agreement
Cherokee County Superintendent Dr. Dana Fall, left, and Spartanburg Community College President Henry Giles sign an agreement Monday to start a new Early College program for high school students at the Hoke Parris business and training center in Gaffney. (Ledger photo / SCOTT POWELL)

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In one of his final official acts, Spartanburg Community College President Henry Giles signed an agreement Monday for the Cherokee County School District to establish an Early College program.

Cherokee Early College will initially serve 30 9thand 10th-grade students enrolled in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) elective classes this fall. The hybrid program will see students take high school classes this fall before moving into college classes on the Spartanburg Community College campus in spring of 2021.

In four years, students will be able to graduate with a high school diploma and receive a 2- year associate degree from Spartanburg Community College at the same time.

“This is a great opportunity for our kids and the community,” Cherokee County Superintendent Dr. Dana Fall said. “This is the next step for our school district. This will help our students become more competitive on a local and national level.”

Cherokee Early College is being offered at minimal cost to the Cherokee County School District.

Spartanburg Community College has renovated two classrooms in the Hoke Parris business and training center. The college will allow the district to use the entire first floor of the building at no cost.

“This Early College program is one of the most exciting things which has taken place in the 13 years since we started to develop the Cherokee County branch campus,” said Giles, who is retiring June 30 after nearly 51 years at Spartanburg Community College. “This will make a significant difference for this county.”

Giles has already seen the impact from a Spartanburg County Early College high school on the SCC Giles Campus which serves all seven Spartanburg school districts.

College figures showed 21 of 24 students in the Class of 2020 graduation class have been accepted into college, according to Giles. This year’s Early College graduates from Spartanburg schools earned $2 million in scholarships.

Students will be required to take AVID all four years while enrolled in the Cherokee Early College program.

AVID targets high school students with academic potential which have not shown up in their grades. The elective class focuses on academic organizational skills, note taking, student tutoring and other academic supports to encourage college and career readiness.

A total of 37 AVID students were offered spots in the Early College program. While the district did not have final enrollment figures, high school coordinator Amanda Painter said students enrolled in the Early College program will split their time between Gaffney and Blacksburg high schools and attending college classes at Spartanburg Community College.

The school district will pay for the college courses at a deeply discounted rate of about $75 per course as students work towards a 2-year associate degree.