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Posted on Tue, May 29, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Washtenaw Community College extends course offerings to 5 local high schools

By Danielle Arndt

Washtenaw Community College is partnering with local high schools in the fall to bring classes closer to students.

WCC will provide courses at Chelsea, Manchester, Milan and Whitmore Lake high schools. Classes also are planned for Lincoln High School during winter semester.

The classes will start after Labor Day, even though WCC’s semester begins on Aug. 24.

The college has long offered classes for residents of Livingston County at Brighton High School and the Hartland Educational Center. More recently, Dexter High School became an off-site location to make WCC available to western Washtenaw County residents.

The idea behind further expanding its off-site class locations is to provide high school students with greater access to dual enrollment.

Linda Blakey, associate vice president of student services at WCC, said a new college president came on board last August and started a new strategic initiative in terms of meeting with the community to determine how the college could be more responsive to community needs.

“The message we heard from the county superintendents and principals is that they wanted us to be more of a partner,” she said. “They said they had students ready for college classes but they did not have transportation to get to campus to do that.”

In a typical fall or winter semester, Blakey said WCC has about 400 dual-enrolled high school students. The college hopes to significantly increase that number this fall and then expand the number of courses offered at each high school in the future, she said.

While the sessions are targeted at attracting students from each local high school, the courses are open to the community.

The participating high schools will decide which courses to offer and control when the classes take place. According to WCC’s website, most will be scheduled after the regular school day.

Local districts have varying policies on who pays for their high school students’ tuition while they are dual-enrolled. Many districts pay the tuition for students, according to WCC.

Consent is required from a school counselor or principal to dual enroll.

Registration for WCC fall classes begins mid-July.

Call the WCC Extension Office at (734) 677-5030 for more information on the new sites.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Tue, May 29, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Community college programs on site in high schools are not a new idea, but they are a good idea. Bridging the transition from high school to college credit is sensible and may move more students to the community college level, from where they can gain immeasurable economic advantage. Community colleges are working in the community by partnering with high schools. Where, however, are AAPS and Saline? Why have these comparatively well-funded districts not chosen to offer students this opportunity?


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

Ann Arbor students do attend classes at WCC. With the access students have to public transportation I don't think it would be economically feasible to place branches in the Ann Arbor high schools.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, May 29, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

This sounds like a good financial move for WCC. How does it impact the budgets of school districts that have a policy of paying for their students' dual enrolled courses? It seems like it would impact the teachers in the district if students were to use the WCC course instead of a course at their local high school. This resembles outsourcing of teachers, though it may not have been the idea the school districts had in mind if they were behind this partnership.

Eileen Peck

Tue, May 29, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

"They said they had students ready for college classes but they did not have transportation to get to campus to do that." I'm sorry, but it appears that this is exactly what the school districts have in mind. For whatever reason, paying college tuition for high school students isn't problematic for the school district but providing transportation to the college is. By eliminating the need for transportation, the school districts win because they can still give high school credit to students for their WCC classwork without the need to have these students in their classrooms during the day. If high school classrooms are already too crowded, or the school district doesn't have the resources to provide advanced instruction, what's the problem?