The Associate of Science in Teaching program at River Parishes Community College has reached another milestone. On May 21, KaLee Schols will become the first AST graduate from RPCC to finish her 4-year degree. Schols is set to graduate from Louisiana State University that morning.
The AST program at RPCC is an innovative, 60-hour degree program, which prepares education students to teach grades 1-5. The AST program at RPCC is a flexible and cost-effective way to complete the first two years of a degree in teaching. Upon completion, the 60 credit-hours are fully transferable to four-year institutions in Louisiana to be used toward a degree in elementary education. That amounts to half of the bachelor’s degree.
Schols graduated from RPCC in May of 2008 with an Associate of Science in Teaching degree. That semester, she was the only AST graduate, and subsequently walked by herself to receive her diploma. She immediately enrolled in LSU, where she studied elementary education. She plans to teach elementary-aged children somewhere in the capital region.
She is the first in her family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree.
Schols is from the state of Washington. She came to Louisiana after graduating high school to live with an aunt and to experience college in a new place. Already familiar with community colleges, she found entering RPCC to be a natural choice.
“I am so grateful for RPCC. Everyone here was ready and willing to help me. Everyone was interested in my success here,” said Schols. “I tell everybody about RPCC. How can you go wrong, when you get personal attention, great counseling, and its half the price of most of the 4-year universities?”
The AST program is the only degree program at RPCC which requires that students meet certain criteria in order to enter. In addition to the application process to enter the college, prospective students must also apply for the AST degree program. Students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average to be accepted. Prospective students must also go through an interview process with RPCC faculty.
Prospective students must pass a background check because the program requires time with children in a classroom environment.
The program requires time and effort from students to complete. In order to complete the program, students must earn a C or better in each core class. Each student must perform at least 20 hours of field placement – time in an actual classroom. Once course work is completed, students must pass the Praxis I and II exams, and must conduct an exit interview at a four-year university.
“I’d like to thank all those who helped me with my academic success, especially my mom and dad, and my Aunt Kathy,” said Schols. “I can’t wait to see where the next challenge takes me.”