It is often said it takes a village to raise a child.
In many cases, the same can be said about education—especially in the Oshkosh community.
With that, a variety of partnerships—many aligning of the Oshkosh4Education visioning initiative—aim to provide students with opportunities beyond what exists in a traditional classroom.
“All partnerships are important because we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help,” said Kim Brown, director of learning for the Oshkosh Area School District.
From the Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), to apprenticeship programs and internships to Youth Options, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce and area technical colleges are working together to educate the next generation of graduates.
“To get a head start on college is a big deal,” said Robert Kerchof, a senior at Oshkosh West High School who plans to attend UW Oshkosh next fall.
Kerchof is part of CAPP, a program that “provides academically able high school students an opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school.”
“There are many opportunities for students and we try to help them make the best decision based on their goals,” said Julie Moser, director of curriculum and assessment for the Oshkosh Area School District.
Through CAPP, qualified students may enroll in select college courses taught by UW Oshkosh approved high school instructors. The program gives students a chance to experiment with the academic rigor of University course work, while remaining with high school peers.
“CAPP helps to set students apart from other college applicants, and gives them a jump start on their college career,” John Koker, College of Letters and Science dean, said.
Kerchof said if he can learn something while in high school that will ultimately help him graduate college earlier—something that will make a college education more affordable—he certainly should.
“CAPP classes are difficult classes, especially math,” Kerchof said. “It is very hard, yes. But it gives me a good look at what college will be like.”
Since 1975, roughly 45,000 high school students have benefited from UW Oshkosh CAPP college-credit courses. In 2013–14, more than 226 courses were offered from about 20 UW Oshkosh departments; more than 3,300 students enrolled in those classes from 59 different high schools.
“Not only do opportunities like CAPP help give our students a jump start, but it can also help them make decisions without spending a ton of money because they are still in high school,” Mosher said. “Plus, CAPP gives students a real chance to see what post-secondary education will be like.”
High school student Megan Gerharz is also getting a jump start on her future through the Oshkosh Chamber’s Youth Apprenticeship program. She has an accounting apprenticeship with Kitz & Pfiel in downtown Oshkosh, which has helped solidify her choice to study accounting at UW Oshkosh next year.
“I think having this apprenticeship has really solidified my choice to want to be an accountant and also what parts of accounting I like and don’t like. I feel incredibly confident going to UWO next year knowing that I am pursuing a career that I love,” she said.
Beyond preparing high school aged students for a future in college, UW Oshkosh partners with the Oshkosh Area School District, Chamber of Commerce and Fox Valley Technical College on a variety of other programs and initiatives such as College Day for Kids, career fairs, advisory board collaborations and more.