The W.Va. Board of Education on May 9 granted a waiver to permit West Liberty University to begin operating the Advanced Academy of West Virginia, an accelerated learning program for high school juniors and seniors, WLU President Robin C. Capehart has announced.


The Advanced Academy permits early entrance to college courses. It initially will be available to students of the Marshall and Ohio County schools. The program is designed for high school juniors and seniors who exhibit high levels of achievement and are interested in accelerating their academic careers. Students will still be enrolled at their respective high schools, but all coursework will be completed at West Liberty University. The students effectively will be enrolled in high school and college simultaneously, while being allowed to participate in after-school extracurricular activities at their high schools. The academic offerings will fulfill WLU’s general studies courses while meeting high school graduation requirements.


“The program is designed to support talented and motivated students in reaching their academic goals,” Ronald A. Witt, Jr., executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Education at WLU said.


“All parties involved have worked very hard on the development of this initiative and it is extremely satisfying knowing our efforts will be realized by those students who will ultimately benefit from this unique learning experience,” Witt added.


Students will be enrolled in WLU’s Honors College for the 2012-2013 academic year. The Honors College is an academic community engaging highly motivated and intellectually advanced students in exceptional experiences that develop excellence in leadership, scholarship and service. Susan McGowan-Koyzis, interim dean of the Honors College, said the academy will offer a unique “blended” experience to both existing Honors College students and the high school-aged students.


Academy students will participate with Honors College students in a weeklong orientation session which will begin a week before regular classes start. McGowan-Koyzis explained, “Both Academy and Honors students will participate in team building activities, study a specifically chosen academic, interdisciplinary theme and explore models of leadership.”


Walter Jagela will serve as academic coordinator of the Advanced Academy. “I look forward to working with our Academy students to provide the best possible guidance for them in their time with us,” he said.


The program was developed in cooperation with the Marshall and Ohio County schools with assistance from RESA-VI.


Capehart said, “Our participating high schools are very excited to offer this alternative pathway for accelerated education. Our county and high school counterparts realize this is a great opportunity for select students in their respective schools and is not intended to restrict any program or activities that are currently being offered at the high school level.”


He added, “As a widely-known leader and innovator in the field of education, West Liberty University will continue building on its traditional strengths while advancing education through innovative and knowledge-based programs such as the Advanced Academy of West Virginia. Together, these efforts will provide students of the region the opportunity for a high quality education.”


For more information, contact Witt at (304) 336-8844.