‘Digital literacy’ skills give college credit to freshmen

It used to be that students had to wait until high school to earn college credit for academic achievement. Now, freshmen in the South Kitsap School District (SKSD) are getting ahead by certifying their technology skills and “digital literacy” through a certification program provided by Certipoint, Inc.

The program teaches students the basics of hardware, software and Internet etiquette.

“This is basic knowledge that everyone needs to know,” said Dale Green, director of professional and technical education at South Kitsap High School. “It’s an international certification, recognized everywhere in the world.”

Green said classes occur during school, in the students’ technical education classes. After they finish the course, students take a proficiency test. If they score 85 percent or higher, they can take the final certification test.

And it’s not just the students who benefit from the courses.

“It’s really across the board,” Green said. “Students are challenging their teachers to get certified. We have more certified instructors than anyplace in the world.”

SK has become a model for other school districts that want to offer teachers and students access to the necessary technology literacy skills.

“The nice part about this is that these students go to the head of the line once they graduated and enroll in community college,” Green said.

This past school year, nearly 75 students earned four college credits each after successfully completing Certiport, Inc.’s digital literacy course.

Students are eligible to earn college credit at Olympic College, South Seattle Community College and Highline Community College while attending their junior high school classes and completing the Tech Prep program with a B grade or higher.

As a result, students pay a one-time registration fee of $10 and receive college credit roughly worth $280.

South Kitsap School District is a pilot site in the national Career Cluster Initiative, in conjunction with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in Washington state.

The Initiative was created to establish technology-education program standards based on industry certification.

skills, while preparing them for higher education and the workforce.

“It’s been a great program as we try to establish what our literacy level in technology should be for both students and staff,” Green said. “This is the perfect way to measure it.”

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