Wayne County High School students have never experienced such a customized approach to the variety of courses they may select from to design their schedules. They can follow traditional classroom courses at the high school, or they might select on-line courses at their fingertips. Not only are the subjects varied, but also the types of classes range from dual credit courses to advanced placement classes to work based learning opportunities like: cooperative education, apprenticeships, internships, or school-based enterprises.
“We have added several advanced placement (known as AP) course offerings including AP Environmental Science, AP World History, AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, as well as the already offered AP Computer Science. These classes provide a challenge to our students that are interested in college and gives them an opportunity to gain college credit through the AP program” providing they pass the nationwide AP test at the end of the courses, explained WCHS Principal Justin Alley.
Alley continued, “I’m very excited to see how the AP program will better prepare our students for success in postgraduate studies. We want to make sure our students are ready for the demands of college, and participation in the AP program will certainly help them prepare. These classes are very rigorous and demanding; however, the hard work students put in these will certainly help them on down the line.”
Dual credit classes jumpstart students into the postsecondary world by offering both high school and college credit, simultaneously. They also make college more affordable because it is not uncommon for students to have enough college credit earned when they graduate from high school to enter college as a sophomore.
Wayne County High School juniors and seniors recently met with Counselor Donna Bridgeman who outlined the steps they must take to apply for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) dual credit scholarships, an attractive cost saving perk. Eligible high school juniors and seniors can benefit from two scholarships that cover tuition costs. In addition, some of the colleges who participate in on-line dual credit courses offer them to high school students at little cost.
Bridgeman told the students they must sign off on a verification form to show her they grasped her dual credit counseling session that explained specifics about dual credit benefits where students save time to degree completion and cost reductions through lower tuition rates and scholarships. Academic preparedness and expectations are important considerations for students because dual credit courses create a permanent academic record, impacting high school and college grade point averages.
“Our students’ schedules are all different. Some come for third and fourth period, while studying online the rest of the day. On the other hand, some come early for a couple of classes and then go to work. We’re all over the radar” to better meet the students’ individual needs, said Bridgeman.
Senior Sierra Hagerman is taking advantage of the two KHEAA scholarships-one the first semester and one the second semester. She said she waited for her senior year to use the scholarship because she was not ready until now to take on college level courses. In addition to the scholarship classes she signed up for, she is also enrolled in English 101, an online class that is offered through EKU at no charge.
“I prefer online classes because I can get ahead,” noted Hagerman, who likes to read ahead and be proactive with her studies. In fact, she has already sent in her college application to Berea College and is considering an art education degree.
Students who enjoy having face to face interaction with their instructor can take English 101 while in high school through a Somerset Community College teacher who meets with students on a weekly basis at the high school. Therefore, there is a variety of dual credit options for students to take advantage of at the high school. Students use their Chromebooks issued to them through the high school tech department to log into KCTCS Blackboard for online courses.
Senior Maggie Stinson has signed up for Math 111 online through Campbellsville College. She has also taken History 108-109 classes through Eastern Kentucky University. “I learn better when I teach myself through an online course because I can go at my own pace,” Stinson said.
Senior Dylan Corder is planning to take Biology 112-113 in C.J. Kennett’s high school classroom.
Senior Grayson Guffey is signed up for three periods of dual credit college courses. He is taking English 101-102, Art 105, and Math 111 this year. “This will save me a lot of money in the long run. He is currently considering enrolling in EKU’s forestry program in the future.
Junior Mackenzie Crabtree has taken several dual credit courses through Somerset Community College that local instructors teach during the high school day. She said that she was really challenged in Ms. Colleen Steele’s U.S. History 108-109. This semester she is taking Psychology 110 online through SCC.
“I’m trying to get my basics out of the way,” said Crabtree. “Hopefully, this will help me figure out what I want to do. I’ve considered working towards being a nurse practitioner, but now I’m leaning towards law/politics because it really interests me.”
“Most of our students are taking general education college courses while in high school. Most select courses from SCC, EKU, WKU, Campbellsville and Murray. The base tuition is $54 per hour. The most popular courses students use as dual credit are basic college courses in English, History, Art, and Biology. Wayne County High School has an excellent track record in regard to the number of high school teachers who are also qualified to teach college classes in most of these subjects.
“A lot of upperclassmen take psychology and communication online courses,” noted Bridgeman. Then a few of our students are really getting up there taking online pre-calculus, chemistry and physics.”
Some of the students prefer experienced based work where they go to a job part of the day, while receiving high school credit, just like the co-op students at the Area Technology School. This benefits our students by helping them develop work skills. It also helps them to earn future tuition dollars.
Dual credit courses are also popular at the Area Technology Center. In fact, 80 students in grades 9-12 are pre-enrolled in dual credit classes in program areas such as: health science, business, automotive, carpentry and machine tool technology.
WCHS High School and the ATC have never before offered so many learning options to students.
WCHS Upperclassmen learn about Dual Credit Scholarship through the KHEAA
Seniors Dylan Corder and Grayson Guffey attended the interactive meeting
Seniors Taylor Pittman and Maggie Stinson listened to Counselor Donna Bridgeman explain Dual Credit Scholarship opportunities
Senior Adrian Martin and Junior Haleigh Criswell checked out a verification form after the meeting.