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— Northwest Arkansas Community College received accreditation from the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Programs (NACEP) for its high school based concurrent enrollment program this year.

Concurrent enrollment programs, also called "dual enrollment" or "dual credit," provide a unique and sustainable way to deliver rigorous curricula to a broad range of high school students, enabling them to earn college credit while completing their high school requirements.

NWACC has been offering this opportunity to high school students in Washington and Benton counties on their high school campuses since 1995 through such programs as "Step Ahead."

Along with receiving NACEP accreditation, NWACC has recently strengthened its commitment to the K-12 community by consolidating all of its high school programs under one department, "Early College Experience." This includes the college's career and technicalprograms currently offered through the Regional Technology Center.

Diana Johnson has been selected to serve as the Executive Director of High School Relations, a new position specifically developed to lead the Early College Experience department. Johnson, who most recently served as vice president for learner services at the college, will work closely with area high school administrators to ensure that NWACC's Early College Experience programs will meet the needs of high school constituents.

NWACC's Early College Experience programs now serve fourteen high school campuses.

The programs served 664 students in fall 2008. From 2000 through 2009, a total of 5,125 students have earned 22,753 semester credit hours through NWACC, either by taking classes at NWACC or on their high school campuses through the College's high school based concurrent enrollment program.

The National Center for Educational Statistics reported that during the 12-month school year of 2002-2003,there were 855,000 enrollments in dual credit courses taught on high school campuses across the nation.

NACEP is a professional organization that fosters and supports rigorous concurrent enrollment programs at high schools and colleges. The organization was established in 1999 to serve as a national accrediting body in response to the dramatic increase in concurrent enrollment courses throughout the country. NACEP supports its member high schools and colleges by providing standards of excellence, research, communication and advocacy.

NACEP is also devoted to delivering ongoing professional development to the nation's most talented teachers.

More information about NACEP and the innovative and proven concurrent enrollment model can be found at www.nacep.org.

For more information about NWACC's Early College Experience, contact Diana Johnson at (479) 936-5131 or djohnson@nwacc.edu, or go online to www.nwacc.

edu/LDC/NACEP/index.php.

Community, Pages 9 on 07/29/2009

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