Entrepreneurship and Business Academy (EBA) students crowded around the table in a Kempsville High School classroom where Principal Melissa George and Old Dominion University’s (ODU) Brian Payne sat, pens poised over contracts. They prepared to seal the deal on a new arrangement between the two schools that would provide a jump-start for ODU freshmen who graduate from Kempsville High School.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students,” said the EBA’s coordinator, Meghan Timlin. “They typically can only earn college credit by taking an AP or dual enrollment course. The fact that higher ed is able to offer the students four credit hours for the entrepreneurship class that they take here at the academy is a huge accomplishment for us.”
According to the agreement, effective this school year, Kempsville High School students who successfully complete the EBA Incubator EDU course, graduate, enroll at ODU and pass a faculty evaluation from the Strome College of Business will be granted four hours of credit for introductory business and entrepreneurship classes at ODU. Students would also be able to continue the companies they started at the EBA via assistance from ODU’s Strome Entrepreneurial Center and the THE Monarch Way store.
“It can save time and money for students,” observed Payne, who is the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at ODU. “It gives them a head start into college and sends the message that this experiential learning at the secondary level is something we value.”
Timlin believes that it’s also a plus for ODU and the community.
“Obviously it encourages students to look at ODU a little closer,” she explained, “And we want to keep them in this area, keep them local and get them starting businesses in this area. That helps with economic development in the entire region.”
She hopes other local colleges and universities will be willing to enter into similar agreements with Virginia Beach City Public Schools in the future.