Two Lyndon schools with a long-standing history of educational excellence have joined forces to present a unique opportunity to students in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The Lyndon Learning Collaborative between Lyndon Institute and Lyndon State College (LSC) provides the opportunity for eligible Lyndon Institute seniors to obtain a full year of college academic credit through college-level courses offered by LSC. Except for one college history class taught on the college campus, all college courses are taught at Lyndon Institute, with LSC and Lyndon Institute faculty sharing classrooms.
The new Collaborative is a head start for higher learning for LI seniors who qualify for the program. Students who complete the college course requirements will graduate as seniors from Lyndon Institute with a high school diploma, but will also have earned a full year of college academic credits, enabling them to enter LSC as a sophomore.
The financial savings include not only the approximately $10,000 in college tuition, but can mean skipping an entire year of room, board and other college expenses.
Any student who participates in the Collaborative and decides not to attend LSC following high school graduation, or who transfers to another college or university prior to completing a full freshman year at LSC, has the opportunity to purchase some of the college credits earned while attending the Collaborative. The student may then be able to gain credit for those courses at the college or university of their choice.
“The program has been very beneficial for the purpose of preparing us for the rigors that await us for the rest of our college careers,” said LI senior Trisha Potter. “We have gained more independence and therefore have been able to develop better time-management skills. What a great opportunity!”
Adam Norwood, Assistant Head for Collaboration and Innovation at Lyndon Institute, describes the new Learning Collaborative as “the first of many” innovative new collaborations undertaken by the two institutions. Norwood says LSC President Joe Bertolino and the faculty and administration at Lyndon State are excited to explore new opportunities to partner with Lyndon Institute and create opportunities that benefit students enrolled in both schools.
One obvious benefit to the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) is the increased ability to provide opportunities for students to remain in the NEK, acquire a solid college education, and simultaneously participate in apprentice and work-study programs that will provide local students with opportunities to explore local careers and gain training and experience. Local businesses and institutions gain an extra opportunity to attract and retain college-educated students with the skills and experience that will help them obtain a sustainable, rewarding and skilled career without moving out of the area.
LSC President Bertolino says, “The partnership makes sense on so many levels and I’m excited about it. Our proximity is an advantage, our shared faculty, resources and facilities allow us to be more productive and fiscally responsible. Our similar missions have a focus on student preparedness for future success. And the program is a terrific way to make college affordable.”
Lyndon Institute Headmaster Daren Houck added, “We are committed to creating new pathways for our students so they may secure a successful future if they decide to settle here in the NEK. I hope this partnership is the first of many as we continue to target new business and economic development initiatives that provide sustainable and cutting-edge opportunities for our students.”
The Collaborative is selective, and both the LI and LSC faculty members who teach in the program evaluated the students who applied to make sure they were a good “fit” and have the ability to successfully participate in the Collaborative. This year, 17 Lyndon Institute students were accepted.
“The students who qualify for the Collaborative accept an academic load that is well ahead of what students would ordinarily face their senior year of high school,” says Thom Anderson, Associate Dean for Academic Progress at LSC. “The courses taught are not high school courses and every LI teacher in the collaborative has an LSC counterpart.”