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DCAD launching first dual-enrollment program at Cab Calloway School

Entering college with a few credits already earned is a big advantage for today’s students, saving them money on higher education expenses and helping them graduate with their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees on time or even early. Opportunities for students to bank credits often come through dual-enrollment agreements between their high schools and local colleges and focus on basic courses that serve as the foundation of their degree programs.

Delaware College of Art and Design and Cab Calloway School of the Arts are teaming up to provide Cab’s visual arts students with an early start on their art and design degrees. Beginning this fall, DCAD will send instructors and curricula to Cab to offer “Figure Drawing” and “Animation I” that will count toward both a high school diploma and a college degree. Students also will produce relevant drawings and animations for their college application portfolios and have the opportunity to be mentored by a college instructor.

Cab Calloway is a public middle and high school for students in the performing and visual arts that boasts a graduation rate of 100 percent. Also located in Wilmington, the Red Clay Consolidated School District magnet school combines traditional academics with concentrations in dance, digital media and communication arts, instrumental music, piano, strings, technical theatre, theatre arts, visual arts and vocal music to lead to a State of Delaware High School Diploma.

DCAD, the Mid-Atlantic’s only two-year professional art and design college, is accredited by both the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It offers associate of fine arts degree programs in animation, fine arts, graphic design, illustration and photography on its downtown Wilmington campus.

DCAD Dean Katy Ro noted that the development of this collaboration exemplifies DCAD’s mission and commitment to cultivating partnerships with local art and design entities. She also said the program will help make students more college-minded while helping them prepare for the academic rigors of college via previously unavailable instruction and experience. Cab Calloway Dean Julie Rumschlag agreed.

“This program gives our students an opportunity for coursework that our school typically does not offer,” Rumschlag said. “Dual-enrollment will provide both breadth and depth to our arts curriculum at Cab Calloway.”

Many students who have graduated from Cab Calloway over the last 20 years have gone on to earn associate of fine arts degrees from DCAD. These include Katlyn Cofrancisco, who earned a diploma from Cab, an associate’s degree from DCAD and a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition to continuing to make pottery, she also has worked as one of DCAD’s admissions counselors.

“Giving high school students access to college-level studio classes truly benefits and enriches their learning experience,” Cofrancisco said. “DCAD sees a need to encourage and provide access for students who are talented and dedicated so they may get on an accelerated path to becoming artists and designers, and I believe this program with Cab Calloway will be the beginning of what DCAD hopes to achieve with other schools in the Tri-State area.”

Cofrancisco said moving from the close-knit creative community she experienced at Cab Calloway to the atmosphere at DCAD was a comfortable progression. Both offer a similar environment of support and inspiration.

“As I look back on my transition from high school to college,” she said, “the impact of being encouraged to take risks, learn to be a creative problem-solver and encourage my peers made me a more well-rounded artist.”

PHOTO INFO: DCAD instructor Aki Torii Sare will teach the first dual-credit courses DCAD is offering at Cab Calloway School of the Arts this fall. She is shown with Cab student Ingrid Robson, who attended DCAD’s Pre-College Studio Week program this summer.