Hello Methow Valley!
My name is Grant Storey and I am the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Dual Credit Coordinator for Methow Valley School District.
I hope to use this blog to communicate with students, families, and our community how career and technical education and dual credit opportunities will benefit our students, expand opportunities, and potentially support the valley’s broader economic goals. Today, I want to talk about dual credit and our rapidly expanding College in the High School (CiHS) classes at Liberty Bell Jr/Sr. High School and what they mean for students.
To begin, what is Dual Credit?
Dual credit is when a high school student can receive high school credit and college credit, apprenticeship hours or an industry-recognized credential at the same time. Some traditional models of dual credit that may be familiar to you are AP classes or running start classes at a community college. Additionally, there are two other “models” of dual credit out there; CTE dual credit and ‘College in the High School’.
Why is Dual Credit beneficial?
Millions of High School students nationwide participate in forms of dual credit classes. Extensive research has shown that students in dual credit classes are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college or some other post-secondary/job specific training program, and complete degrees and credentials. In some cases, dual credit classes can also lower costs/tuition and reduce the time it takes to achieve a postsecondary degree at a community college, trade school, or 4-year university. Most importantly, research has shown that dual credit opportunities boost student confidence, independent learning capabilities and ability to seize future opportunities.
College in the High School (CiHS)
Why ‘College in the High School’?
Well-run dual credit programs have all four types of dual credit opportunities because options are important to students and families! And one of the fastest growing models of dual credit that Washington State is a leader in is ‘College in the High School’. These are courses being taught in the high school where students can earn college credit from just passing the class. No nation-wide final tests or travel required! Most importantly, this type of dual credit can then be transferred to a wide variety of postsecondary programs IF the student chooses.
This year Liberty Bell Jr/Sr. High is offering several CiHS classes:
- Adam Kaufman and Cam Alford are co-teaching English 101 and 105 through Central Washington University.
- Katie Leuthauser is offering Global Warming through the University of Washington.
- Genny Rice is offering Biology through Bellevue College.
- Adam Kaufman is also offering Spanish 102 and 103 through Eastern Washington University.
In each of these cases, these instructors already have classes at Liberty Bell that include content and assignments which closely align with what is happening on each of these college campuses and the teachers themselves have been recognized as highly qualified, college capable instructors.
Is College in the High School really for everyone?
The Methow Valley School District is making an investment in equity by registering and paying all costs for every student enrolled in one of these courses.
Why? Are all students ready for college level work? What if a 4-year University isn’t the direction a student wants to go?
These are some of the great questions we have received and want to share responses more broadly. We are focused on matching what is already happening in our classes locally to be a good fit with college courses so that students are getting credit for the instruction and work they would be doing regardless. More “bang for your buck” if you will, and students are able to take these courses in the comfort of a school where teachers and support staff are familiar with- and know the needs of the student.
For example, a 10-week college course is typically stretched out over the whole school year or semester so that high school students have the time to learn and grow at a slower pace. Additionally, by partnering with colleges and universities, the Methow Valley School District can expand its academic resources because registered CiHS students have access to university libraries, writing help, college tutoring and advising. We expect students to be challenged and are being intentional to back up students with ample support. Lastly, there are many post secondary opportunities outside of college. Boosting overall confidence and independent learning is beneficial no matter which path a student chooses to take. We want to create opportunities and options for all!
We are continuing to expand CiHS offerings at LBHS! Look for future offerings in Math, Science, Languages, and the Social Sciences. AND, CiHS isn’t just for core academic subjects; we are working on offerings for art, music, and health and fitness as well. The goal is to celebrate and generate additional opportunities from the great things our teachers and students already do!
Please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns, and/or suggestions for any CTE/Dual Credit topics you would like to learn more about. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to hearing from you!
Grant Storey, PhD (he/his)
CTE/Dual Credit Coordinator
Methow Valley School District