Career Start is a new partnership with several local school districts and Highline Community College. Simply put it is the professional technical form of Running Start. It is designed to allow students to graduate from high school at or near the same time that they receive an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) from Highline Community College.
Students who are in the Federal Way School district and Highline School district have the option to get their high school diploma through their home high school. If the student chooses this option (option A) they would be able to choose from the following 14 Career Start Programs.
Students from all local school districts including Federal Way and Highline school district have the option to get their high school diploma from Highline Community College. If the student chooses this option (option B) they would be able to choose from the following 25 programs.
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Deep in her heart, high school sophomore Anya Biryukova knew what she wanted to do. Art was her passion and her gift. She struggled to see the relevance in the classes she was required to take in high school, and wound up missing school more and more frequently. As she dropped further behind, she considered leaving school entirely. She went to her high school counselor to discuss getting a GED so that she could pursue art full time. That counselor suggested the Career Start program instead.
Two years ago, Anya was among the first students to join the program. As an incoming junior, most of her state-required classes were already out of the way. She was free to focus on art courses at the Highline Community College campus. Program consultant Terry Farris notes that the goal is to make sure that students are engaged in courses in their area of focus 80% of the time in the first year of the 2-year program.
Anya, who was a chronic doodler all through her school years, began to pay attention in her classes. “I noticed my attitude towards education changing; I was learning things I could use in order to get a career in the field I want,” she says.
She has just earned an AAS in Visual Communications, or graphic design, and her high school diploma. At about the same time she joined Career Start, Anya connected with Legends of Equestria, a nonprofit organization that is developing a multi-player online game. She continues to serve as Concept Art Leader for the project.
What if Anya had dropped out of school instead of completing this program? She says she would likely have continued to build her art portfolio, but by finishing the program, she has greater mastery of the tools of her trade. And with a diploma and an AAS degree, she has far more opportunities. Her next step? A Bachelors of Technology in Applied Design from the Lake Washington.