Yelm High School to Offer In-House Associate’s Degree Program

Earned Associate and Arts Direct Transfer Agreements to be Awarded by SPSCC

By Daniel Warn / dan@yelmonline.com
Posted 1/18/22

Yelm Community Schools is now offering a college degree program where students can earn an associate of arts degree that can be transferred to a four-year institution.

Assistant Superintendent …

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Yelm High School to Offer In-House Associate’s Degree Program

Earned Associate and Arts Direct Transfer Agreements to be Awarded by SPSCC

Posted

Yelm Community Schools is now offering a college degree program where students can earn an associate of arts degree that can be transferred to a four-year institution.

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Cadero-Smith presented the Associate of Arts-Direct Transfer Agreement program at the school board’s Jan. 13 study session. Cadero-Smith said the program allows students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree while still getting the benefits of high school life.

It differs from Running Start, where students attend classes at places like South Puget Sound Community College, forgoing some of the more traditional aspects of high school.

Students who participate in the program will be able to learn if they are college-capable in a familiar and safe environment, Cadero-Smith said. She noted that it isn’t uncommon for a Running Start student to get in over their head at a community college and come back to the high school in a worse standing in regard to their graduation requirements.

She made it clear that she feels Running Start is a good program, one that her own kids took advantage of, but the associate’s degree from within the high school’s walls could be more advantageous for some students, she said.

One of the barriers students may face with Running Start is the nearest institution offering the program is 20 miles from Yelm.



The new program allows students to earn an associate’s degree from South Puget Sound Community College ostensibly without the student ever stepping foot on its campus.

Students will be given the opportunity to earn the 90 college credits needed for their degree, with at least 15 of their 20 elective credits available through Yelm High School’s career and technical education offerings.

In all, the program costs students $3,600, though there are grant funds available for free or reduced tuition for eligible students.

The program runs from ninth to 12th grade and simultaneously fulfills graduation requirements for a high school diploma.

Currently, there are 79 students enrolled in the program — 63 freshmen and 16 sophomores.

Cadero-Smith said it was moving to see the emotion and pride emanating from the students, and their parents, when given the news they were accepted into the program.

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