The academic transition from high school to college can be challenging. However, the increase in dual enrollment programs nationwide has given a greater number of high school students the opportunity to experience collegiate classes and gain a head start in earning college credits.
Earlier this month, Marymount University reached a dual enrollment agreement with Lynnhaven School in Henrico, Va., an independent day school, that will allow Lynnhaven students to take English and History courses virtually with Marymount beginning this fall.
“I am honored to have Lynnhaven School join Marymount University in a new dual enrollment partnership that will grow over the years, and look forward to welcoming many of their students as Saints,” said Dr. Louis Frisenda, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Marymount. “I believe Marymount is a perfect fit for Lynnhaven students.”
Johnathan Harris and Casey Hitchcock are the Heads of School at Lynnhaven, with Harris serving as Chief of Advancement and Hitchcock as Chief of Staff. While exploring options with other universities, a deep connection was ultimately made with Marymount.
“Our school is built on the principles of the progressive education model and for our students to have the opportunity to seek knowledge beyond the typical school day,” Harris said. “We’re the only independent school in the Richmond area with this type of dual enrollment program, and with Lynnhaven having similar traits as Marymount, I think we’re in lockstep.”
Dr. Frisenda agreed that the alignment of values between the two parties would create a strong partnership.
“I researched the history and background of their school and thought they would be excellent candidates to become a dual enrollment partner because their mission and values aligned with Marymount’s pillars of intellectual curiosity, service to others and global perspective,” Dr. Frisenda said. “I was impressed with their college acceptances and how much growth the school has had over the past decade.”
Not only are Harris and Hitchcock continuing to grow Lynnhaven as it moves into its second decade of existence, but they are also students themselves in Marymount’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Innovation program. They say the experience they have received as Marymount students will also translate to their own students at Lynnhaven.
“I think the personalization that Marymount students receive in terms of the relationships they are able to build with their professors has been invaluable for us as doctoral students,” Hitchcock said. “It also really mirrors how we interact with our students here.”
Since 2013, Marymount has offered approximately 1,452 courses in a variety of programs to count for dual enrollment credit. In those 10 years, 1,223 students have participated in dual enrollment at Marymount, and participation has increased from 65 students in 2013 to 462 students in Spring and Summer 2022.
For Harris, this is a unique opportunity for Lynnhaven that he wish he had years ago when he was in high school.
“We want our students to have the experience of taking a college course, but in an environment that they are comfortable in,” Hitchcock said. “Then hopefully, it translates to long-term college success and them having the confidence to go into their true freshmen year with these credits under their belt.”
“Both us and Marymount make education accessible to our students,” Harris added. “That was the catalyst for both sides in making this happen.”
Harris and Hitchcock originally began their online doctoral program at Marymount in the spring of 2020, right as the world was shutting down due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they admit that even with the distractions that the pandemic caused, they enjoyed being able to work through the program together. They both are currently on track to graduate and earn their doctoral degrees next spring.
“This doctoral program is different compared to others I’ve been in before, because you can actually apply the dissertation to practice,” Harris said. “For us, I think Marymount has done a phenomenal job in being flexible and also having the curriculum make sense.”
So, as the two Heads of Lynnhaven School will soon become Marymount alumni themselves, they are eager to share their lessons as Saints with their students for their own academic growth.
“We enjoyed our experience and really value the professors and instructors that we’ve had,” Hitchcock said. “I’m excited that we can now build that foundation between Lynnhaven and Marymount.”