NMC, PSS accord allows HS students to earn college credits

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Posted on Dec 22 2020

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The Northern Marianas College and the CNMI Public School System have agreed to create a program that will allow public high school students to earn college credits at NMC while still attending high school.

The program, called “College Now,” was approved by the Board of Education during their meeting last Dec. 16 and was signed at NMC’s Board of Regents conference room on As Terlaje Hill last Dec. 18, with NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico and Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada signing the agreement in the presence of their respective board members.

According to NMC Enrollment director Manny Castro, PSS instructors at the high school level will be teaching subjects where students can receive both high school and college credits for—if they choose to. As part of the agreement, the instructors who will be teaching these courses must first be vetted by NMC. The way it’ll work is that PSS instructors who will be teaching subjects where high school students can receive both college and high school credits have to meet all faculty qualifications for NMC and have to be certified by NMC.

“For example, if you’re within the high school language arts class, some students may opt just for the high school credit and others may want both the high school and college credits, but it’s the same instructor teaching the course,” said Castro.

Northern Marianas College interim president Frankie Eliptico and the Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada are flanked by members of the Board of Education and NMC Board of Regents as they sign the College Now agreement at the BOR conference room on As Terlaje Hill last Dec. 18. (JUSTINE NAUTA)

According to Eliptico, “College Now” would give PSS high school students an opportunity for an accelerated pathway to their career. PSS students won’t have to wait until they graduate from high school to attend and earn college credits and they can start doing that now.

“This is really a big testament to the relationship that NMC has with PSS and this is just one of the initiatives. We have a lot of other programs coming up with PSS,” said Eliptico.

BOE chair Janice Tenorio sad the College Now program is close to her heart. “It was a legacy that was here since 20-plus years ago. …The program gave opportunities for individuals to…earn high school credits, as well as college credits. …This student will be killing two birds with one stone,” said,.

BOE vice chair Herman Atalig, BOE member Andrew Orsini, and BOE Tinian representative Antonio Borja all expressed full support for the program.

“I think we owe that to [our students] because we don’t have so many resources on our islands…but we have the big resource, which is the human mind, and we need to develop that in our young children,” said Orsini. “I want to thank the members and NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico for giving us this opportunity for all our children in PSS, and I think it’s a wonderful thing that hopefully will benefit both institutions.”

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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