BY STARRLA CRAY
WINSTED, MN This fall, Crown College in St. Bonifacius plans to offer high school juniors and seniors four free post-secondary classes at River of Life Christian Church in downtown Winsted.
“The four classes will be 1.5 hours each, and will run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings,” noted Katie Rehmann of Winsted, who helped get the program started. “They will be a hybrid of in-class lectures and learning, as well as online study.”
The idea for Crown to offer post-secondary courses in Winsted developed after Katie and her husband, McLeod County Sheriff Scott Rehmann, began looking at education options for their 16-year-old daughter, Isabel.
Isabel, who is homeschooled, liked the idea of taking courses at Crown. Space on campus for post-secondary students is limited, however.
“Last year, we had double the number of [post-secondary enrollment option] PSEO applicants than we were able to accept on campus,” said Emily Cano, director of student services at Crown College.
Although Crown offers online learning, the Rehmanns were looking for a classroom setting.
Katie said her oldest child, Josiah, who is now 20, took online post-secondary courses through the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, and “while it was wonderful,” she “felt he was missing the component of being with other students.”
Katie began discussions with Crown’s staff about a possible satellite campus in Winsted, and River of Life Christian Church offered its classrooms which are equipped with Wi-Fi access free of charge.
“The church is very interested in being able to help the community, and has been very generous,” Cano said.
Four courses to be offered
Classes slated for this fall include art appreciation, foundations of biology, US history/government, and college writing/research (similar to an English composition course).
“I believe fall semester will be about 13 credits at the Winsted location,” Katie said “Students can also take online Crown PSEO courses if they would like additional credit . . . Bible courses may be added in the future for a reduced cost per credit.”
A minimum of 12 students are needed to start the program, and the deadline to register is July 1.
“I think that this is a great fit for both home-educated and [private or] public high school juniors and seniors,” Katie noted. “The program allows students to have the benefit of in-class time with the camaraderie of fellow students and support of class instructors, as well as the time benefits of online learning.”
Because Crown is regionally accredited, the credits will transfer to most colleges and universities in the US. According to a press release from Crown College, “the 15-week classes are designed specifically for high school students, and will be taught by supportive teachers who are engaged in students’ learning. Typical weekly assignments include readings, discussion forums, quizzes, and papers.”
While professors from Crown College will lead most of the classes, the US history/government course will be facilitated by Katie’s husband, Scott, who is a McLeod County Historical Society board member, and is the author of two historical publications: “Murder and Mayhem in McLeod County” and “The Midnight Gavel of Judge Lynch.”
Scott plans to serve as a teacher’s assistant for the course in Winsted, and a professor at Crown will handle assignments and grading.
In addition to the Winsted location, Cano said Crown is exploring the possibility of having classes in other communities around the metro area, as well.
“If we get this set up and it goes well, we’d love to keep it going,” she said. “If we can do some off-site locations, it will enable us to serve more students.”
To learn more, or to register for post-secondary classes in Winsted, contact Cano at firstname.lastname@example.org.