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Ottawa County Early College Handbook  2016-2017
Ottawa County Early College is a program that allows selected students to extend high school by one year in order to earn both their high school diploma and up to 62 college credits from Muskegon Community College at no cost to the student. The program is offered through collaboration between Ottawa Area ISD and Muskegon Community College. For a .pdf file of the handbook, click here


Eric Packer, President
Jose Gomez, Vice President
Ronald Eding, Treasurer
Richard Cooley, Secretary
Carol Slagh, Trustee

Peter Haines, Superintendent

Dr. Dale K. Nesbary, President
Teresa A. Sturrus, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Finance

Office of Academic Affairs
Dr. John Selmon,
Vice President for Student Services and Administration
Student Services

Melissa Bultema, Susan Tater, Jennifer Knittel
Early College Dean, Early College Advisor ,Early College Advisor

Ottawa County Early College
221 S. Quarterline Rd.
Muskegon, Michigan 49442-0576

Ottawa County Early College Student Handbook

What Is Ottawa County Early College?
Ottawa County Early College is an intensive 3 year-year high school program, combining the best elements of the high school and early college experience. It is a partnership of Muskegon Community College (MCC) and the Ottawa Area ISD. The program provides a supportive and rigorous educational environment to qualified students throughout participating districts, who are interested in earning college credit while still in high school. Students have the opportunity to earn up to 62 transferable college credits and/or an Associate’s Degree from MCC before graduating as a high school student, with a diploma, after year 13.

The Ottawa County Early College is designed to prepare students for the rigors of a top-tier university and the demands of the workplace once they graduate. All students begin to enroll in college coursework during grade 11, earning 12-13 credits. During their 12th grade year, students will take 22-24 college credits, and during their 13th year, students will take up to 24 college credits and complete their final high school requirement and/or math class. Students should also plan on taking at least 1-summer class (3 credits) as well (either between 11th and 12th or the 12th and 13th year). Students have full access to the tutoring and counseling services provided at Muskegon Community College.

Highlights of the Ottawa County Early College Program include: Opportunities for students to take college level classes while still attending their high school and maintaining the ability to participate in their high school activities. Students are able to partake in almost all college campus activities and have access to college academic assistance as needed.

The purpose of Early College is to ensure that students are ready for a 4-year university, or the workplace.

The Goals of Ottawa County Early College- Transforming Potential into Success
Goals of the EC Program are to: Create a first-class learning community on the campus of Muskegon Community College where all who participate (students, staff, teachers/professors, parents and community members) are valued as both learners and teachers; provide real-world learning experiences for students in a potential career; and support students in a college environment as they learn to utilize the college’s resources. Communication is vital between students, parents, high school and Early College. EC will provide support, guidance and academic rigor to students. EC strives to:

  1. Prepare students for successful transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and enable students to pursue higher-level degree opportunities through our local partnerships with university programs.
  2. Prepare students in critical thinking, communication, and long-term learning skills for the changing challenges of the future.
  3. Develop technical and vocational skills necessary to enter and/or advance in the technologically sophisticated workplace of the 21st century.
  4. Provide for the assessment and/or improvement of learning skills and attitudes necessary for a successful educational experience.
  5. Meet the unique educational, cultural, and societal needs in the community through special courses, seminars, and exhibits.
  6. Respond in a rapid fashion to the ever-changing educational and training needs of local and regional business and industry.
  7. Stimulate intellectual curiosity, promote humanitarian values, and enhance the general educational experiences necessary for persons to function as effective citizens.
  8. Create an atmosphere where diversity is acknowledged and encouraged.
  9. Provide comprehensive student services that are conducive to student learning and satisfaction in all facets of the college experience and appropriate to an open door community college.
  10. Improve student academic performance, while increasing high school graduation and persistence rates.
  11. Increase the number of students graduating with options for professional careers.
  12. Provide an atmosphere where all parents and community college stakeholders are part of the shared vision of EC.
  13. Enhance student opportunity to earn up to 62 transferable college credits and/or an Associate’s Degree.

General Information

In order to carry out an effective attendance policy, students must have good attendance at high school as well as college. Attendance policies will be enforced from the student’s high school. Attendance policies at Muskegon Community College will be enforced as well. The professors for each individual class establish these policies. It is the student’s responsibility to check each course syllabus for this information. Ottawa County Early College Program will support both the high school and college policies for attendance. The Dean and Advisor will provide support for students; however, it is the responsibility of the student to know the attendance policy for each class and to notify teachers if there is a conflict that will result in a student missing class.

Student Conduct
It is a privilege to be a part of the Ottawa County Early College Program. Students enrolled in the Early College program will follow the rules and guidelines as established from their high school as well as the rules and guidelines of Muskegon Community College, Ottawa County Early College and the State of Michigan. Proper behavior is expected while in high school and also on the campus of Muskegon Community College.

Students will have full access to all of the resources provided by Muskegon Community College including counseling, tutoring, College Success Center, clubs and many other areas. Students are encouraged to utilize the Tutoring Center as needed, prior to having difficulties in class. Early College students are not eligible to participate in interscholastic athletic programs at MCC, but they are encouraged to join clubs and engage in the activities provided by Muskegon Community College.

Closing of School
Students should follow local TV and radio stations for MCC or high school closures (look for the specific MCC campus you attend). If a high school is closed, that does not mean that MCC is closed. MCC is usually open, so students cannot assume anything. It is the student’s responsibility to assure that they are attending school (MCC or High School) if it is open.

Coopersville Campus – the Coopersville MCC campus closes due to weather only when Coopersville Public Schools are closed due to weather.

Holland Campus – the Holland MCC (GVSU Meijer) campus closes due to weather only when Holland Public Schools are closed due to weather.

As part of the Early College program, students are not required to pay tuition or book fees. Also, most materials that are required on the class syllabus are covered through the program. Questions regarding fees should be addressed to the EC Dean or Advisor. Parking on campus is also free of charge. Students should register for a parking pass at the Welcome Center located in the front of campus.

Some examples of items not covered under the Early College program, may include, but are not limited to: field trips, state ID’s, play or theatre performances, museum entrance fees, and any items not purchased before the Financial Aid window closed (books, scantrons, lab glasses, etc).

MCC Student ID Card
Students are expected to carry their MCC student ID card with them while on campus. Students can use their card to enter most events on campus.  These cards will be distributed during Summer Success Camp.

On-line Classes
Early College students will not be allowed to register for on-line classes until they have completed 2 semesters of classes on campus, and established a GPA of 3.0 or better. Hybrid classes will be allowed.

Book Policy

Effective 2/1/2016

All Northwest Ottawa Early College students are responsible to purchase and return their own books every semester at the MCC Bookstore. Note: If you do not return books during the specified book buyback timeframe each semester, you will not be able to use financial aid to purchase books for future semesters and would have to pay for them on your own. Also, you must purchase your books and class supplies (including scantrons) during the financial aid window, which typically ends the second week of classes.

Book Return Policy

  1. Please go to MCC’s bookstore located on the Muskegon campus and go to the back online pick up window for textbook buyback.
  2. At the window, you will be required to show your MCC Early College ID and to let bookstore staff know that you are in an EC program.
  3. Once all books have been returned, there will be a buyback slip you must sign in-order for your high school to receive a credit for the buyback. Students will never or should never receive cash during this process. This semester’s book buyback is from April 18 - May 2, 2016. Typically, book buyback ends the Friday of exam week, however it is subject to change. If you have further questions about book buyback dates and times, please contact the bookstore at 231.777.0481

Book Purchasing Policy
Your options will be to either go to the bookstore to “purchase” your books with your Early College Student ID and a copy of your schedule using financial aid OR you can pre-order them online for pick up at MCC’s bookstore.

If you choose to pre-order, please use the following instructions:

  1. Log into MyMcc.
  2. On the home screen, you will see an icon to “View Winter textbooks” (or whichever semester is upon us) and click that link. It will show you all of the necessary materials for the courses that you are scheduled for and will look like similar to this:
  3. Always select "BUY USED" as your first preference. If no used books are available, select "BUY NEW” - Do not select RENT USED as renting textbooks would require you to add a credit card.
  4. Choose financial aid (input student ID number) as the payment option.
  5. At this point, you have pre-ordered your textbooks and you will need to wait on the email letting you know your books are ready for you to pick up. If you do not hear from the bookstore before classes start, please contact them directly for a status update on your order.

Students in the South Ottawa County Early College Program in 11th or 12th grade, please see your advisor for specific instructions.

Cohort Meetings
As part of the Early College program, students are required to attend group cohort meetings. These sessions will not be held at the same time or on the same date each month, as we try to recognize students’ different schedules. Cohort meetings are established for students to share information with each other and also for the Dean and Advisor to provide information as it relates to the program.

It is the responsibility of EC students to adjust their schedules to attend these cohort meetings. Only college classes, high school games, or performances that conflict with these times are reasons for not attending cohort meetings. Practice or work are not acceptable reasons to miss. If a student does miss a cohort meeting for a reason other than listed above, the student will be responsible for contacting the Dean or Advisor. Students that continually miss seminar for unexcused reasons will be placed on Early College probation (See Page 10). Should you have a question, please contact the Dean or Advisor.

Students are required to check in with the Dean or Advisor on a WEEKLY basis (during the school year) to discuss progress and concerns or respond to critical thinking questions. Students can schedule the meetings, drop by their advisor’s office during office hours, or communicate via email. In addition, students should be monitoring their email (both MCC and personal accounts if provided) on a regular basis, as the Dean and Advisor’s will be using email as a primary form of communicating important information, such as meeting dates/times, class scheduling, bookstore information.

Withdraw/Changing Classes
Once a student is placed in a class, he/she is not allowed to withdraw or drop from that class without contacting the Dean or Advisor. Class schedules can be changed throughout the first week of the semester without cost. After the first week of classes, students must have Dean/Advisor permission to make any schedule changes. If a student insists on withdrawing from a class after that window, the student and/or high school will be responsible for the cost. Students should check ahead of time with their individual district to see if they would be responsible to cover that cost. Ottawa County Early College will not cover the cost of the tuition, registration fees, or books for classes that are dropped past the refund deadline.

Early College Probation Criteria
Ottawa County Early College Program is a privilege, and each Early College student must meet certain criteria in order to remain in the program.

When a student fails to meet these set criteria, that student will be placed on Early College probation for the remainder of their current semester and the entire following semester (Fall and Winter Semesters).

To be placed on Early College probation a student has not met at least one of the following, but not all-inclusive standards:

  • Student has failed to communicate with the Dean or Mentor as required
  • Student has failed to attend cohort meetings
  • Student’s semester GPA is below 2.0
  • Other as deemed by the Early College Dean or Mentor, based on the Early College handbook

To have the probation removed the student must follow and meet the criteria listed below:

  • Meet with the Dean or Mentor on a weekly basis to establish progress while at MCC for one full semester. A mutual meeting time will be set.
  • Attend sessions in the tutoring center as needed
  • Attend sessions in the college success center as needed
  • Earn an overall GPA of 2.0 or greater at the semester

In addition to the above, the student may be slowed down as deemed necessary by the advisor or high school.

If, after the probationary period is over, the student still has failed to meet the requirements set forth by Ottawa County Early College and Muskegon Community College, that student will be transitioned out of the program and return full time to his/her High School with any outstanding costs to be paid by the student/parent.

Counseling and Advising Center
The counselors at Muskegon Community College are available by appointment to meet with students regarding class selection, potential majors and transferring to 4-year schools. Students can contact the counseling office at 231-777-0362 to set an appointment. Students are also required to meet with an MCC counselor at least one time per semester to schedule classes and talk about transferability. Students will not be registered for classes for the next semester until a meeting with an MCC counselor has taken place.

Tutoring Center – 2nd Floor Next to Collegiate Center
Peer Tutoring - If assistance is needed in a specific course, you may apply to the Tutoring Center, located in Room 204. Student tutors recommended by instructors are available to any student on campus. The number of hours per week of free tutoring available to you varies with the number of credits being taken.

Walk-in Tutoring - Walk-in Tutoring is a set schedule of times when a tutor will be available to assist with problems without an appointment.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) - Supplemental Instruction is a small group academic assistance program, which has shown an increase in student performance. It is offered only in specific introductory classes. Check with your counselor or the tutoring center and SI supervisor for more information.

Referral Tutoring –  If peer tutoring is not appropriate or available, any student, parent or concerned adult may contact the College Tutoring Center to request help in finding a tutor. The Tutoring Center does not pay for such tutoring, however. Those who prefer referral tutoring must pay the tutor themselves after each session, unless other arrangements are made.

Online Tutoring – Online Tutoring is available to all students. Students can receive one-on-one help directly from a tutor in any subject. In addition, students may post questions on the Online Tutoring Shell to be answered within 24 hours by a qualified tutor. Please call 231-777-0393 for access to the Online Tutoring Shell.

MCC Tutoring Center Website – www.muskegoncc.edu/tutoring

Office of Information Technology
MCC students should call the Student Technology Helpdesk at (866) 718-5170 for all technology-related issues. The technicians at the Student Helpdesk are specially trained to work with students’ technology needs and are available anytime.

College Success Center
The College Success Center (CSC) was established to help students realize their full educational potential at MCC. It includes three labs, which offer credit courses in writing, math, and reading/study skills. The CSC works closely with the Testing Center.

CSC courses are taught in a classroom setting or on a one-to-one basis; in the latter, assignments are designed to meet the academic needs of the individual. CSC courses range from basic skills to more sophisticated college-level activities such as skim reading or the writing of research papers.

For one-on-one courses, weekly scheduled conferences with instructors and paraprofessionals provide constant monitoring of skill development, and assignments are adjusted accordingly.

The CSC is open at least 60 hours a week so that students may use it during their free time.

Students Privacy
The Ottawa County Early College Progam will follow all of the appropriate FERPA laws as they pertain to student privacy. Please contact the Dean or Mentor should you have any questions.

Student Privacy – FERPA
Students wishing to authorize the release of their record will need to fill out the Authorization to Release Information Form. If you wish to revoke a previous authorization, you should complete a FERPA Retraction Form. Students wishing to withhold directory information will need to complete the Non- Disclosure form. Once completed you may fax or mail the form to:

FAX: (231) 777-0209

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. They are:

The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Dean of Academic Services and Registrar written request that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

The right to request the amendment of the student’s education record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. Student should submit to the Dean of Academic Services and Registrar in written request, clearly identify the part of the record(s) they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agency); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Muskegon Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

Student Agreement Page
I have read and understand the Ottawa County Early College handbook and guidelines.

I will follow the rules and guidelines set by my High School, Ottawa County Early College, Muskegon Community College and the Michigan Department of Education.

If I violate any of the guidelines/rules, I understand that I could be dismissed from the program. I understand that if I am dismissed from the Ottawa County Early College program, I will be responsible for any costs associated with tuition and books.

Early College Student ___________________________________________________________