Cape's A+ coordinator hopes for more student enrollment

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The coordinator of the A+ Program at Central High School is looking to get more students involved.

Janet Ruessler discussed the program, which provides scholarships to Missouri two-year colleges and vocational schools, at the Cape Girardeau School Board meeting Monday night.

"We get the word out to students as early as their freshman orientation," Ruessler said. "We present reminders on how to get involved with A+ at timely points throughout the school year." At the end of Central's 2011-2012 school year, 240 students had signed agreements to enter the program, and 38 seniors graduated with an A+ scholarship.

Ruessler would like to see even more students become enrolled this year.

"The program is readily accessible at any point and enrollment and participation are very user-friendly," she said.

Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the A+ Program has been in place at Central High School since 2008 and has granted 100 scholarships since its inception.

The program is open to all, but a student must meet state criteria, which include graduating with a GPA of at least 6.5 on an 11-point scale, attending an A+ high school for three consecutive years before graduation, having at least an overall 95 percent attendance record in high school and performing 50 hours of program-approved unpaid tutoring.

Ruessler said that while the program is strongly supported and encouraged by the administration and faculty, there are drawbacks. Scholarship money cannot be used out-of-state or at four-year colleges, and lack of access to tutoring due to sports or employment responsibilities has prevented some students from fulfilling the tutoring requirement. And as the financial incentives for the program depend on state appropriations, funding levels for the program are subject to change.

Despite those issues, Ruessler will continue to spread the program's word.

"This is a way for those who can't enroll in a four-year college to further their education," she said. "I'm grateful for the continuance of the program and will keep making it accessible to students who are eligible."

In other business, the board was informed via video message from the Missouri School Boards' Association about Proposition B on this November's ballot. The measure proposes to raise by 73 cents Missouri's tobacco tax, which currently is the lowest in the nation. An estimated $280 million is expected to be raised from the tax, with half of that amount designated for public education.


Pertinent address:

301 N. Clark Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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