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Bridge programs help students get a jump on college success

With Norfolk Achieves, Tidewater Community College is providing Norfolk public high school students the opportunity to start their college journey while still in high school. The program provides students the chance to earn seven college credits for the reduced cost of $50.

“We are excited about this renewed partnership with Norfolk Public Schools, because it enables us to bridge the gap to college for students who are well prepared for the rigors of college coursework,” said Michelle Woodhouse, interim provost of the Norfolk Campus.

TCC launched this dual enrollment partnership with Norfolk Public Schools, giving more than 50 rising juniors a head start on English 111 and 112, as well as a required College Success Skills class (SDV), all while still in high school.

The Norfolk Campus program includes a summer bridge program, held June 23 through July 2 on TCC’s Norfolk Campus. “We’re starting with the basics,” added Woodhouse. “We’re teaching students how to interact with professors, navigate blackboard, study for college courses, develop leadership skills, all while having some fun.” Students will also take the placement tests for the upcoming English courses during this session.

Participating students were selected by the students’ home school principals and guidance counselors and are from Booker T. Washington and Lake Taylor High. More schools will be added at a rate of two per academic year.

“Parents will be happy to see college credit awarded at a much reduced cost and Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) is happy that we have strengthened another avenue to prepare our students for college and career ready opportunities,” said John Coleman, executive director of high schools for NPS. “This is clearly a positive collaboration for our schools and the Norfolk community.”

Students gathered in the Norfolk Student Center and campus classrooms for instruction and team building activities. Marissa McCants, from Lake Taylor said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and so far the program has been fun and interactive. TCC is a great stepping stone, right here in my hometown.”

“I like the diversity of our group,” added Isaiah Parker from Booker T. Washington. “It’s helpful to get started now and I feel like I can learn here.”

The Portsmouth Campus also offers its own summer bridge program called TCC Express. The weeklong program provides high school students who plan to attend TCC in the fall the opportunity to compete their one-credit College Success skills class (SDV 100) with all costs paid by the college. Sessions provide orientation to the campus environment and college life and assist students in building skills that will support them in degree completion, including team building and goal setting.

“It helps with the transition between high school and college,” said Windsor High graduate Liz Pritchard. “I’ve also learned a lot of valuable things about the campus itself.”

“It’s a good program so far,” said Churchland High graduate Cherelle Dolly. “It’s nice to see that it’s not that scary in college.”

TCC Express had its first session beginning on June 23 and will offer a second session on June 30.