February 5, 2015 — John Carroll University in Cleveland has partnered with Cleveland Heights High School for the R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Experiential, Active Learning) Early College program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to attend the university and earn up to two years of college credit with the goal of preparing them for college.
"The students must have As in their high school classes in math, science, social studies and English," said Dr. Mark Storz, John Carroll University Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and academic adviser to students in the Early College program.
According to the inaugural group of students, the experience has been valuable. "It's a different feel, a different mindset," said Cleveland Heights student Jonathan Hicks. "Everyone here is prepared to learn."
Storz said he has been impressed with how the young students have fit in academically and socially with the college-age students. "From what I've heard, they've integrated amazingly well," he said. "Some professors don't even know that they're high school students."
To assist with the challenges of a heavier workload, John Carroll provides each student a college-student mentor, as well as a graduate assistant to help them with concerns and to make suggestions to improve their life on campus. But the students appear to be holding their own academically. Storz said one high school student told him excitedly that she received the second highest grade in the class on her psychology test.
Cleveland Heights High School Principal Alisa McKinnie said she’s received positive feedback from the students as well. “They're a very mature group of kids," McKinnie said. "They come back (from JCU) and come to the office and we talk about academic and social things.” [Source: Cleveland Sun News]