2017-10-11 / News

Kiwanis speaker talks about PECIL

At the Aug. 7, meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club held at La Piazza restaurant in uptown Roxboro, Walter Montgomery, associate dean for Technical and Occupational Programs at Piedmont Community College, spoke to the club about the Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership program (PECIL).

The idea began in 2015, with knowledge that higher and lower students received most of the attention in the public school setting. Montgomery participated in initial grant application and is the college liaison for the program.

PECIL meets on the PCC campus and requires an extra year of high school attendance, but upon completion the student earns an associate in science or an applied science degree. The degrees are in Health Care Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing and Technology and College Transfer.

A student with an associate in science degree can then go on to one of the UNC system campuses to pursue a four year degree.

Admission criteria are based on attendance and discipline history, first generation college status and other factors.

The 2016-17 year was the first year for the program. The program began with 47 students and lost one student during the course of the academic year.

This year two have been lost, but only because they moved out of county. The goal is 100 students in order to obtain state funding, so 11 ninth-graders were recruited to join the 10th-grade cohort. There are 100 freshmen and sophomores presently enrolled.

Montgomery noted that this is a partnership between PCC and Person County Public Schools. A grant was approved, but funds were pulled by legislature. For the first year, PCC and PCS therefore found the funds themselves, but for 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, state funds are available.

In his capacity as college liaison for the program, Montgomery works with both sponsors.

The college courses are spread throughout the five years. In the first three years, most of the high school requirements are completed. For some courses taken at PCC, the student receives both high school and college credit.

The student must select the degree track to be pursued, since that affects the courses which must be taken.

Last year all students were promoted to the 10th grade and everyone passed college courses with grades that will transfer to four year institutions.

There is an academic support time in the schedule each day to work on any weaknesses. Passing a placement test is required as a prerequisite for some courses. Those who did not score acceptably attend remedial classes summer in order to prepare for retesting.

Montgomery indicated that students participated in a wide range of other activities, including a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program at North Carolina State University and other camps offered at PCC.

PECIL students also led Math and Science Day at Stories Creek Elementary School.

Students lead their parent conferences, subject to review with teachers, and there has been 100 percent parent participation in these conferences.

The program itself has four full time teachers, in addition to the PCC faculty which participates.

The students are treated as any other students at PCC. Public school bus transportation is a component of the program, with some buses going from Person High to PCC.

The school system provides a breakfast and a lunch, and the same rules apply for those who qualify for free or reduced fees.

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