College Course Offered at Cathedral High School
Elms College has offered courses to high school students before. For years, students from Holyoke Catholic High School have enrolled in college courses that give them both high school graduation credits as well as college credits, with only a one block walk up Springfield Street to get to class. This semester, the Division of Education decided to offer one of its required undergraduate courses, PSY214 Children's Learning and Development to another group of students at Cathedral High School.
“Originally, the plan was to invite the students to come here after school to get the full college experience,” explained Mary Janeczek, Ed.D., Division of Education chair and professor. “But then the June 2011 tornado destroyed their school and they had to relocate.”
Students finished out the 2010-2011 school year here at Elms. They then relocated to their current building on Main Street in Wilbraham–just 2.5 miles from Minnechaug Regional High School–making an after-school commute to Chicopee too difficult. So Dr. Janeczek decided to bring the course to them. A few Minnechaug students enrolled as well.
Nineteen high school students are enrolled in the course, which is held 3-5:30 p.m. every Thursday. Taught by Elms College adjunct professor Linda Tammi–a retired Springfield Public Schools teacher–the course examines the characteristics of children and adolescents who follow typical and atypical patterns of development. It introduces students to theories of development and learning and looks at ways to observe learning experiences for students with a range of ability levels and learning styles.
“They follow the exact same syllabus as our undergraduate students,” Dr. Janeczek said. “The only difference is that they complete the required observations of children during non-school hours. We encourage them to talk to parents of newborns, watch how elementary-age children interact at sports games or playgroups, and observe their own peers in social settings.”
MaryKate Sullivan ’17 was one of the Cathedral students who took the course. She will attend Elms College in the fall as an education major. “Taking the PSY 214 course at Cathedral has been a great experience,” she said. “It provided a preview of how college courses are structured. This course confirmed my desire to work with young children as a teacher and solidified my decision to attend Elms College.”
The experience has been so successful for both Cathedral and Elms that another course will be held at the high school this fall. BUS 340 Introduction to Entrepreneurship introduces essential ingredients of entrepreneurship through a series of hands-on projects supported by practical readings and case studies. The high school students will present a 90-second elevator pitch of their entrepreneurial ideas, then develop a business plan based upon their product idea or social entrepreneurship idea. The course is designed to stimulate students to think about starting their own business.