Blair High School students will have an opportunity to gain an advantage before heading off to college with the increase of dual enrollment courses offered during the 2019-20 school year.
The classes allow students to earn college credit at a discounted rate while still in high school. Those credits can then transfer to the college of their choice.
“It gets their foot in the door and it gives them a little bit of advantage,” said Danielle Ladwig, director of curriculum and instruction at Blair Community Schools.
During the 2018-19 school year, the district only offered nine credits of dual enrollment in AP English and Nutrition at the high school.
This school year, BCS will offer 24 credits of dual enrollment. In addition to AP English and Nutrition, students can earn credits in Composition I, Composition II, Public Speaking, Music Theory and Spanish 4.
The dual enrollment courses offer credit through Nebraska Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Metropolitan Community College.
In order to teach a dual enrollment course, educators must have 18 graduate credits in the content, Ladwig said.
Teachers Laura Joy, Cherise Wry, Dan Hutsell and Manny Maldonado have those credits. A Metropolitan Community College educator will teach the composition and public speaking classes at no cost to the district.
Students can also take classes online through the College Now program from Metropolitan Community College. Ladwig said with the districts 1-to-1 initiative, which gave every student a Chromebook, students can independently take classes at any time.
The district will also continue to offer advanced placement (AP) classes in literature, chemistry, government and U.S. History.
“There is still a status to it. They're advanced courses. They are still really nice to offer and I think it's a really good challenge for the college-bound kids,” Ladwig said. “We want to try to keep a balance between offering those APs and having those available for kids along with the dual enrolled.”
Deadlines for enrolling in the classes are Oct. 4 and 14, according to BHS guidance counselor Chris Ross.