School News Network feature: GRCC’s new Kenowa Hills middle college partnership expands access to a college education

Professor Amy Bowling teaching her Monday morning class at Kenowa Hills High School.

A School news Network feature — Grand Rapids Community College professor Amy Bowling began her Monday morning class at Kenowa Hills High School by requesting help from her students.

“I need you guys to teach me how to set goals,” she said.

Sophomore Clayton Gilbert sounded surprised: “You don’t know how to set goals? You’re the teacher.”

“The best way to learn is to teach somebody else,” the college professor responded.

Although they’re still sophomores in high school, Bowling’s 24 students are dual-enrolled in high school and college. It’s called the middle college program, a new partnership between Kenowa Hills and Grand Rapids Community College.

The Kenowa Hills middle college program is the latest for GRCC. The college also partners with Wyoming, Cedar Springs, East Kentwood, Ottawa Hills High Schools with an associate of Arts degree program; Kent Intermediate School District with an associate of applied arts and sciences – mechanical design program; and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and local business partners with a certificate of industrial maintenance or tooling and manufacturing.

To help their professor with her request, the Gilbert used the DAPPS process (dated, achievable, personal, positive, specific) to offer suggestions for goal-setting.  

Chloe Dykhouse advised Bowling to break her project into parts and set aside time to work on it each day.

“Plan a date to have it done, because having it done on the day it’s due is not very convenient,” Melody Dibble suggested.

“Having something to motivate you helps you look forward to achieving your goals,” Ray McGaran added.

As they worked, Bowling reminded her students that setting and prioritizing goals is a balancing act.

In life, “you’re going to have simultaneous dreams and goals,” she told them. “We’re in college now; that’s the level we’re at.”

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