Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 28, 2014

Holy Family planning high school

ASHLAND — Holy Family School is planning to go back into the high school business 28 years after its last class graduated.

The school will be a strictly college-preparatory operation, and Holy Family is in preliminary talks with Ashland Community and Technical College to offer dual-credit classes.

Students would take their freshman and sophomore classes at Holy Family and then spend their junior and senior years on the ACTC campus taking regular college courses.

Upon completion, they would be eligible for both high school graduation from Holy Family and two-year associates’ degrees from ACTC.

The Ashland Catholic school’s board has been planning the school since last fall, and hopes to be ready to enroll the first high school students this fall, said interim principal Barry Gowin.

Students are to be what Gowin calls “a select group” who will be tested to ensure they meet academic standards for enrollment. They also must exhibit the maturity needed to take college classes. ACTC will not hold special class sections for the Holy Family students; they will be enrolled in regular classes with adult college students.

The rigorous freshman and sophomore curriculum will include challenging academic materials, classes in religion from literary and historical perspectives, and electives, he said.

Because it isn’t yet known how many students will apply, it remains uncertain whether admission will be competitive.

The high school won’t be limited to Holy Family students and applicants don’t have to be Catholic. Students from the region, including Ohio and West Virginia, may apply.

Tuition hasn’t been finalized, but for the junior and senior years would be at college rates, paid to Holy Family and passed through to ACTC.

Holy Family may be able to offer scholarships as it does to students in earlier grades, Gowin said.

Holy Family probably would be able to start the program with its current staff and perhaps one new hire, said vice principal Matt Anderson, who will take the principal’s position in the fall.

The school building at 932 Winchester Avenue has plenty of available classrooms, he said.

The program may give a boost to Holy Family’s enrollment in earlier grades because it will give families another high school option, development director Rhonda Suman said. Currently, those who complete eighth grade there typically go either to public school in their home district or to Catholic high schools in Ironton or Huntington.

Talks are still in an early stage, but the program appears viable, ACTC dean of academic affairs Janie Kitchen said. “It’s not something we have done before, but certainly we would be able to map a pathway for students to meet high school and college requirements for associate degrees,” she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

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