The Pierce College Project added a new campus location at Spanaway Lake High School this quarter. Pierce College students and community members may now enroll in classes at the high school to pursue a higher education. The Pierce College team has partnered with the Bethel School District since winter 2017, starting with an evening program at Graham-Kapowsin High School.
The success of the Graham-Kapowsin program prompted Pierce College Chancellor Michele Johnson and Bethel School District Superintendent Tom Seigel and other project members to offer residents and eligible Spanaway Lake students participating in the Running Start program, an opportunity to take Pierce College courses during a daytime schedule.
The classes are held in new portables, property of the Bethel School District, located in the back of the high school. One of the portable buildings is dedicated to Pierce College classes, which holds two classrooms. The portables are designed to simulate Pierce College classrooms through smart desk technology, provided by Pierce College. Pierce College students have access to resources such as study areas located within the programs.
The courses offered at Spanaway Lake for fall quarter start at 9 a.m. and the last class ends at 4:30 p.m. Three time blocks include morning, noon and afternoon. For Spanaway Lake High School students, this new site provides local transportation for students to take the school bus in the morning and return home with the activity bus in the afternoon. “It opens up opportunities for Spanaway Lake students and Spanaway families. I think that is really important, especially with the difficulty some families have with transportation…this allows them a local choice,” said Principal Susie Askew of SLHS, who has recently started her second year. Askew says one student was excited for the new Pierce-Spanaway location because it opened up her options, where previously she experienced a lack of transportation.
The Spanaway Lake location offers two college success classes (COLLG110), two English composition classes (ENGL&101), an online research essentials course (INFO 101), and two statistics classes (MATH&146) for fall quarter. Each course meets twice a week. For the winter quarter, the course list is expected to consist of humanities and natural science classes, along with core classes.
The instructors at the Spanaway location are faculty who also teach at other Pierce campuses. Deborah Davolio, project manager for Graham Pathways Project and an adjunct assistant faculty, has taught the college success course in the transitional education department for six years. Davolio currently teaches the college success course at Spanaway Lake at noon for fall quarter.
Davolio has also contributed to the launching and success of the Pierce programs at GKHS and SLHS.
“Probably one of the most remarkable parts of this whole program is the quality of the partnership that Pierce College has enjoyed with Bethel School District,” Davolio said.
The project team hopes to continue expanding the Pierce College campuses in the future to other districts and communities. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges provides provisional funding to the Pierce College team, which was supported by state legislators for several years. The funding assessed a two-year study of Pierce College students who lacked resources or didn’t have transportation to the Puyallup, Fort Steilacoom or JBLM campuses. The team later launched the program at Graham-Kapowsin. Most of the funding goes toward providing instruction, including management and the offered courses.
To find upcoming courses offered at Spanaway Lake, visit the college website and search for “Spanaway Lake.”
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