Tiffany Brunner has seen the groundbreaking work Ozarks Technical Community College has been doing for young students during her tenure as assistant principal at Republic High School.
This year, she decided to join the OTC team.
Brunner is the new director of the OTC Middle College program, which provides a variety of career education opportunities to high school students who are challenged in a typical high school environment.
“Republic was sending students to Middle College,” she said. “In education today, kids are missing hands-on educational experiences. They don’t get engaged.”
At the Middle College, students pick from six career areas to study in both the classroom and through internships. The newest area is the Health Professions Academy.
“The Health Professions Academy, new in fall 2013, is an amazing college transition program for students who elect to start college early as a junior in high school and focus on careers in health care,” Brunner said.
“Students can earn 30-40 college credits for free before they even graduate from high school. Starting college early may sound scary to some students, but once students experience the sense of freedom associated with attending class on a college campus, they never regret their decision to leave traditional high school behind.”
OTC is accepting applications now for the academy, and applicants can apply online atotc.edu/highschool through the Middle College program.
Brunner said she plans to work to expand the career offerings and bring degree programs to high school students.
“There is a national trend where high school students can earn an associate’s degree. It’s called Early College,” she said. “It’s like our health academy where the best and the brightest come to learn.”
The Middle College program was led from the start by LaRaine Bauer, who had become the college’s director of special programs.
Brunner said it would be a challenge moving into Bauer’s spot.
“She was a groundbreaking force in establishing the Middle College,” Brunner said. “Through her hard work, the Middle College got to where it is today. There’s a lot to learn from her.”
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