Our Jenison High School students are already offered challenging curriculum with talented teachers, state of art facilities, and rigorous athletic opportunities. And now, they may also select the option of pursuing a course of classes approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority [SQA], with the choice of studying abroad after graduation.
The SQA is a globally respected organization that sets forth various requirements for accreditation, similar to the Advanced Placement system that operates nationwide. The existing business courses at Jenison High School already boast articulated credit with area colleges and universities; the SQA endorsement is simply one more layer of credit opportunity for students taking business courses, now having an international selection.
Led by Rebekah Redmer, Executive Director of the Jenison International Academy and Dr Brenda Clark, Career Technical Education Director, the district application process was completed over the span of many months.
We are very proud to share that Jenison is now the 1st operating center approved by the SQA in the United States and is the first High School in the world!
“The fact that Jenison High School is the 1st center approved by the Scottish Qualification authority in the United States and is the first High School in the world is a rare distinction and one of which we are extremely proud. Commendations to Becky Redmer, JIA Executive Director, for all of the work that she put forth to work through the processes of meeting the high demands for educational excellence that is required by SQA.” — Tom TenBrink
For the first year of operation, Jenison students interested in pursuing business as a course of study, may begin the SQA added certificate by taking one or two courses in business their freshman or sophomore year. During the years that follow, students could take a succession of elective business courses that range from Marketing, to senior level math Accounting.
When they complete the seven required high school courses, of which also count toward Jenison graduation requirements, they will earn a Higher National Certificate (HNC) from the SQA. The HNC is the equivalency of the first year of college in Scotland. At graduation, these students will receive their formal certificate from Scotland, along with a Scottish crest on their gown. As a next step, students may elect to go directly into year-two at any of the SQA international centers that have been approved throughout in the world, or enroll at a US college or university. All of the centers offer the exact same qualifications. In Scotland specifically, the cost of higher education is very affordable as students and parents have already saved on the first year.
Superintendent, Tom TenBrink, Brenda Clark, and Rebekah Redmer made the journey across the Atlantic for a brief trip this summer and were able to meet SQA leaders and visit a Scottish College and University: Glasgow Clyde College located in the city center of Glasgow, and Perth College located in the highlands.
“When we met with the business instructional staff and leadership of both Perth College and Glasgow Clyde, those instructors were so excited for their students to be able to have more global exposure as well. They wanted to learn about DECA and all of the organizations that work with our business students, as well as how we deliver this type of content and systems we use. At the same time, they want to share everything. It was just a great collaborative opportunity. The more you partner, the stronger your instructional staff becomes and it’s so much better for our kids.” — Rebekah Redmer
Ten Jenison High School students participated in an Induction on September 15 and next semester there is an anticipated 10 additional students joining the cohort. They will work under the guidance of Dr Clark, who acts as the Internal Verifier with teachers, assessments and mentoring, and Rebekah Redmer who will act as a liaison between Jenison and Scotland.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for students to gain globalized educational exposure. The students are so exited to learn and connect with others. [It] is just one more amazing program Jenison is [continually] creating, providing new opportunities for our kids” — Rebekah Redmer