Ferris State University, Rockford Public Schools collaborate on early college program

ROCKFORD – The shared commitment to higher-education access set the stage for a new partnership between Ferris State University and Rockford Public Schools. At an RPS Board of Education study session on Thursday, May 16, Ferris President David Eisler and Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler finalized the partnership. The agreement offers an opportunity for Rockford High School students to benefit from a new Ferris program, the Woodbridge Ferris Early College Program, that will allow students to take general education courses, starting in Fall 2013, and receive academic credit that will transfer to colleges and universities.

“Ferris State University is excited to partner with the Rockford Public Schools in providing this innovative access to a college education,” said Ferris President David Eisler. “It has been a pleasure to work closely with Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford public School Superintendent. He is a strong advocate for quality education and this would not have been created without his strong leadership, vision and support. This agreement will allow qualified Rockford High School students to begin work on their general education credits, reducing their time to earning a degree and reflecting our strong efforts to reduce student debt. As such it creates a smooth transition from high school to college. This agreement demonstrates a shared commitment, from Rockford High School and Ferris State University, to increasing access to education of the highest quality.”

The early college program will provide students with an opportunity to earn college credit through dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment classes offered at our high school. For the pilot program, Rockford will offer four concurrent enrollment courses through Ferris State University. The Woodbridge Ferris Early College Program at Rockford High School is a pilot program and collaboration between Ferris and Rockford Public Schools. Ferris follows the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) concurrent enrollment model. As a part of that model, high school instructors participating in the program are approved and trained by Ferris to ensure that specific criteria mandated by university accreditation, Ferris policy, NACEP and faculty credentialing requirements are met.

Dr. Shibler endorses the Woodbridge Ferris Early College Program at Rockford High School as a wonderful opportunity for Rockford students to earn college credit through concurrent enrollment. “This pilot program is another forward thinking and innovative example of expanding opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Shibler. “Rockford Public Schools is committed to building quality schools and quality programs; this pilot is another example of just that. Rockford is fortunate to be working with Ferris State University on such an exciting new pilot program which benefits and challenges our students to become even more college ready.”

The Rockford Public Schools District, which is fully accredited and state and nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon District of Excellence, is located ten miles northeast of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Board of Education and staff are committed to providing a world-class education for all students. Rockford’s exemplary educational system is a result of the collaborative efforts of parents, students, school, and community, together providing opportunities for students to reach their full potential by placing emphasis on local, state, and national curriculum standards, a strong character education program, and a variety of after-school learning opportunities.

Ferris State University is a four-year public university with campuses in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids, and satellite campuses across the state of Michigan. Ferris offers more than 180 educational programs, including doctorates, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees, through eight academic colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, Kendall College of Art and Design, Michigan College of Optometry, and Pharmacy.


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