Collegiate Institute Gives Students Chance to Earn Both High School Diploma and College Degree

Sep 18, 2017

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 – CLEWISTON, FLA. – For 47 Clewiston High School students this fall, the first day of class wasn’t just the start of a new year in high school. It was the first step along the road to earning a college degree. Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) has partnered with Clewiston High School to create the Collegiate Institute at Clewiston High School, which provides dual enrollment courses to juniors and seniors attending Clewiston High School.

The Collegiate Institute is a first-of-its-kind program for FSW and Clewiston High School. While FSW provides dual enrollment for local high school students at all four college locations, the distance from Clewiston High School to any FSW location can make travel difficult for students.  

“FSW designs the curriculum and provides the faculty, and college tutoring staff from the FSW Hendry/Glades Curtis Center travel to Clewiston High School to provide tutoring services,” said Amanda Lehrian, director, FSW Hendry/Glades Curtis Center. “This gives these students much easier access to college-level classes without ever leaving the high school.”

“This is a dream come true for us,” said Clewiston High School Principal Roberto Sanchez-Deleon. “Clewiston has been at a huge disadvantage because of the distance to the FSW Hendry/Glades Curtis Center in LaBelle. Now the culture of our school has changed. We’ve become more scholar-oriented, and we have a greater focus on college acceptance and career readiness. Even our ninth- and 10th-grade students and their parents have a clearer focus on what they need to do be eligible for dual enrollment early on.”

This year’s inaugural class is made up of 31 juniors and 16 seniors. The juniors will be the first class with the opportunity to graduate as seniors with both their high school diploma and an associate in arts degree from FSW, and this year’s seniors will have completed between eight to 10 college classes that will count toward finishing their degree at FSW or can be transferred to other colleges.

To accommodate the program, Clewiston High School has designated three classrooms and keeps the library open throughout the day. Students follow a typical college schedule, attending Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday classes. When they are not in class, they spend 10-15 hours a week in the library where they study, complete assignments and work in groups.

“We are a school within a school,” said Jose Roquett, administrator, Collegiate Academy. “While Clewiston High School has a large number of students, Collegiate Institute students will stay together in a small group setting, attend classes, eat lunch and study together.”

“We are home-growing college-educated students,” said Paul Puletti, superintendent of schools, Hendry County. “The program can potentially generate up to 50 students a year who earn their associates in arts degree and will increase the number of students going on to earn a four-year degree. We anticipate that many will return to serve our community, hopefully becoming teachers or finding more opportunities in agriculture, creating a positive economic impact on the city of Clewiston and the county.”

For more information about the program, contact Amanda Lehrian at (863) 674-6010 or Jose Roquett at (863) 983-1520, extension 206.

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Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW debuted its intercollegiate athletics program in January 2016. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.