By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
This is Ivester Early College, Hall County’s own dual enrollment campus
02262022 IVESTER 1.jpg
Ivester Early College students attend class Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at the Hall County school's Chicopee Mill area campus. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County students have equal access to dual enrollment at the public school system’s own Ivester Early College campus in Gainesville.

The school system partners with Lanier Technical College, Brenau University and the University of North Georgia to provide college-level academics at its Gainesville campus just for advanced high school students.

If accepted to the program — housed at the old Jones Elementary School at 1 6th St. in the Chicopee area — Gainesville students can take up to 30 hours at no cost to them. 

Ivester Early College information meeting

When: 6 p.m. March 8

Where: Ivester Early College, 1 6th St., Gainesville

More info:

Michele Hood, dean of Howard E. Ivester Early College, said that Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield noticed that a large percentage of students who go off to college fail at least one class their freshman year. So, with the help of the Hall County Board of Education and Hood, Ivester Early College was created to prepare students for college life while still in high school. The school opened in 2016 as Early College @ Jones. It was renamed Howard E. Ivester Early College in 2019 following a $2.2 million donation from the Ivester Foundation.

“Professors come here to teach their same courses, with the same degree of rigor and the same tests that they teach at their main campus,” Hood said. “The partnership and the students here work so well.”
All credits earned at Ivester will transfer to any University System of Georgia College or Technical System of Georgia school. The credit hours don’t count against those that can be covered by a HOPE Scholarship, which is otherwise capped at 127 hours of college credit.

And Lanier Tech even offers certificate classes — including firefighter/emergency medical technician, nurse aid and design and media specialist — that a graduating high school student can then use to get a job.

“It is a great way to try and figure out their path before they are headed to main campus as a freshman,” Hood said. These certifications allow students to explore their passion areas before it costs them money to do so.

While the coursework is at the college level, the high school environment offers resources to students who may be struggling or just need somewhere to study. There are English labs and math labs on site plus tutors in science, math, English and health care. 

“I think Ivester supports students and helps students get their feet on the ground before they launch into campus life because we have all the extra support,” science and health care adviser Laurie Brown said.

Ivester is meant to bridge the gap between high school and college.

North Hall High School student Hannah Schofield said it helps students learn to advocate for themselves.

“There are a lot of resources here, but you have to learn how to ask for them,” she said.

The learning environment at Ivester allows students to meet others and build relationships with them. Students often form study groups among themselves. Early college can equip them with the confidence and skills required to do that. 

“Sometimes high schoolers don’t know how to study or communicate well,” said East Hall High School dual enrollment student Walker Barrett. “Ivester helps build good habits.”

Making dual enrollment available to all Hall County students is important at Ivester. 

Transportation to the campus is available to and from all of Hall’s high schools.

“The main thing is giving all our students access to dual enrollment and making sure all students have the resources they need to be successful, but also teaching them how to go to that 100% independence and thrive,” Hood said.

To get into the program, students have to apply and be accepted to Ivester Early College and the college they wish to attend at the Ivester campus.

For more information regarding dual enrollment and a tour of Ivester Early College, the next meeting is 6 p.m. March 8 at Ivester.

“I’ve never had a student say I wish I didn’t do this,” Hood said. “What they do say is `I wish I'd done this sooner.”

This article was written by Chestatee High School student Bowen Corley, who is interning with The Times through the school's Work-Based Learning program.

02262022 IVESTER 6.jpg
Ivester Early College students attend classes Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. - photo by Scott Rogers
02262022 IVESTER 2.jpg
Ivester Early College students attend class Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at the Hall County school's Chicopee Mill area campus. - photo by Scott Rogers
02262022 IVESTER 5.jpg
Ivester Early College students walk to class Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at the Hall County school's Chicopee Mill area campus. - photo by Scott Rogers