Abington Heights joins local school districts in Level Up Lackawanna pact

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
Lackawanna College President Mark Volk discusses the Level Up Lackawanna program, geared toward encouraging and accelerating post-secondary degree completion, during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Erica Barone-Pricci outlines the specifics of the Level Up Lackawanna program during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon and Principal Andrew Snyder, front, attended a roundtable discussion at Lackawanna College April 5. The school district is one of four partnering with the college for the Level Up Lackawanna program. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Regional school administrators joined Lackawanna College officials for the announcement of the Level Up Lackawanna program April 5. From left, Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Dr. Erica Barone-Pricci, Mid Valley School District Superintendent Patrick Sheehan, Mid Valley Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction Eduardo Antonetti, Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, Abington Heights School District Superintendent Michael Mahon, Abington Heights High School Principal Andrew Snyder, Riverside School District Superintendent Paul M. Brennan, Riverside Counseling Department Chair Abbey Judge, Riverside Junior-Senior High School Principal Joseph Moceyunas, Scranton School District Chief Academic Officer Missy McTiernan, Scranton Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan, Wyoming Area School District Superintendent Janet Serino, and Wyoming Area Curriculum Director Robert Galella. - - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

SCRANTON — Lackawanna College announced its Level Up Lackawanna partnership with the Abington Heights, Mid Valley, Riverside and Wyoming Area School Districts during a roundtable discussion April 5.

Level Up Lackawanna will allow high-achieving students to earn an associate degree in select majors by the time they graduate from high school through a combination of dual enrollment classes offered on-site at each partnering school district, evening or late afternoon classes on site at Lackawanna, online classes, and summer terms. Eligibility will be based on academic achievement.

The program aims to reduce or eliminate financial and social barriers to higher education enrollment, retention and completion. The degree path is priced at $6,200 with opportunities to have the program fully funded, potentially making it free to students.

“We saw the opportunity to make dual enrollment more meaningful,” said Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Erica Barone-Pricci, Ph. D. “Conceivably, a high-achieving, highly motivated student could walk across the stage at (high school) graduation wearing an associate degree robe, as well.”

Barone-Pricci added that students who decide to further their education at Lackawanna will also be eligible for financial assistance.

“If an associate degree graduate chooses to stay with us for a bachelor’s degree, we’ll offer them an academic scholarship at least equal to the amount they paid for the associate degree,” she said.

The Level Up program will also offer students an opportunity to earn college credits without committing to a full degree.

“We created bundles of certificates around our most popular majors, including Business, Criminal Justice, Healthcare, Human Services and General Education, to help students earn between 14 to 24 credits that are easily transferable,” Barone-Pricci said. “It will give students the opportunity to explore college while the stakes aren’t quite as high.”

According to Lackawanna College Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer Jill A. Murray, Ph. D., high school students in the program will be treated the same as those already enrolled in the college.

“They will have access to all the student support services, including tutors and counselors, that our students have,” Murray said.

Another aspect of the program will be catered toward students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare fields through informational sessions, mentoring opportunities, and course work.

“Healthcare plays a vital role in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Barone-Pricci said. “We know that, probably, for the foreseeable future, our largest employers are going to be healthcare organizations.”

Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon, Pd. D. is excited that students who have been pushing themselves academically will be properly compensated for their achievements.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time and we firmly believe that college-level work should be given college-level credit, regardless of the setting,” Mahon said. “We’re very excited about this partnership and we will be able to deliver opportunities to our kids that they have not seen before.”

Students from the partnering school districts are currently being approached to sign up for the program and will begin taking classes in the fall.

“It’s part of our commitment to the region,” Lackawanna College President Mark Volk said. “It’s a partnership that we believe will have tremendous benefits for the students, the schools, and our area in terms of training individuals for future jobs.”

Lackawanna College President Mark Volk discusses the Level Up Lackawanna program, geared toward encouraging and accelerating post-secondary degree completion, during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ABJ-AH-Education-1-1.jpgLackawanna College President Mark Volk discusses the Level Up Lackawanna program, geared toward encouraging and accelerating post-secondary degree completion, during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Erica Barone-Pricci outlines the specifics of the Level Up Lackawanna program during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ABJ-AH-Education-2-1.jpgLackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Erica Barone-Pricci outlines the specifics of the Level Up Lackawanna program during a roundtable discussion with several school districts April 5. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon and Principal Andrew Snyder, front, attended a roundtable discussion at Lackawanna College April 5. The school district is one of four partnering with the college for the Level Up Lackawanna program.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ABJ-AH-Education-3-1.jpgAbington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon and Principal Andrew Snyder, front, attended a roundtable discussion at Lackawanna College April 5. The school district is one of four partnering with the college for the Level Up Lackawanna program. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Regional school administrators joined Lackawanna College officials for the announcement of the Level Up Lackawanna program April 5. From left, Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Dr. Erica Barone-Pricci, Mid Valley School District Superintendent Patrick Sheehan, Mid Valley Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction Eduardo Antonetti, Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, Abington Heights School District Superintendent Michael Mahon, Abington Heights High School Principal Andrew Snyder, Riverside School District Superintendent Paul M. Brennan, Riverside Counseling Department Chair Abbey Judge, Riverside Junior-Senior High School Principal Joseph Moceyunas, Scranton School District Chief Academic Officer Missy McTiernan, Scranton Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan, Wyoming Area School District Superintendent Janet Serino, and Wyoming Area Curriculum Director Robert Galella.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ABJ-AH-Education-4-1.jpgRegional school administrators joined Lackawanna College officials for the announcement of the Level Up Lackawanna program April 5. From left, Lackawanna College Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer Dr. Erica Barone-Pricci, Mid Valley School District Superintendent Patrick Sheehan, Mid Valley Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction Eduardo Antonetti, Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, Abington Heights School District Superintendent Michael Mahon, Abington Heights High School Principal Andrew Snyder, Riverside School District Superintendent Paul M. Brennan, Riverside Counseling Department Chair Abbey Judge, Riverside Junior-Senior High School Principal Joseph Moceyunas, Scranton School District Chief Academic Officer Missy McTiernan, Scranton Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan, Wyoming Area School District Superintendent Janet Serino, and Wyoming Area Curriculum Director Robert Galella. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.