Photo contributed by norwalk.edu
From AP pottery and drawing to high level arts and sciences, the course catalogue at Staples High School is particularly diverse. However, there are gaps in this long list of classes for students pursuing certain interests.
Staples students have enrolled in college level courses through a partnership between Staples and Norwalk Community College to achieve further academic enrichment.
Juniors and seniors can choose to take up to two courses, not offered at Staples, per semester through NCC (SHS). Women’s Psychology, Arabic, and Criminal Justice are some of the classes available to Staples students (NCC).
The nature of the program promotes pursuance of unique interests.
“So far I have found taking additional courses at NCC to be a challenge worth doing,” Mason Schafer ’22 said. “It’s an easy way to learn about a subject you couldn’t fit into your schedule at Staples or isn’t offered at Staples.”
The time commitment and level of rigour are sustainable for many students involved in the program who are also enrolled in a full schedule at Staples.
“The work is college level,” Schaefer said, “however it’s significantly less demanding than most AP courses offered at Staples.”
Lessons offered at NCC are more informal in nature than what is the standard at Westport Public Schools.
“My professor would lead zoom calls from her car and restaurants in New York City, ” Maya Markus-Malone ’22 said, “and for tests she would just send the class an email with a pdf.”
As classes are still being completed virtually, students and professors have varying levels of privacy during the school day. For this reason, there is more leniency with deadlines and testing surveillance, contributing to less difficulty.
Beyond a different educational experience, this partnership with NCC allows for diverse interactions. Community college offers an education to teens, young adults and employed grownups alike.
“It was cool being around college students,” Markus-Malone said, “especially in a community college where students come from all different backgrounds and have all different stories.”
This dual enrollment program is an opportunity that many Staples students aren’t aware of. Staples has a great variety of course subjects and levels, but Norwalk Community College offers nearly 1000 classes that can further enrich a highschool education and prepare one for their post-high school plans in college or a career (NCC).
“Even though it was online,” Markus-Malone said, “I got the experience of a real college class in how my professor treated her students, how much responsibility students had over time management and papers, and how different it was from classes here at Staples.”