College-level classes popular with RFSD juniors and seniors |

College-level classes popular with RFSD juniors and seniors

Instructor Linda Guglielmo communicates in two languages at once in a room full of students with all eyes trained on her animated movements.The juniors and seniors in the Basalt High School classroom are working on fulfilling a foreign language credit, but not one where they must conjugate verbs. The students say they are enrolled in the class to experience another culture and to learn an interesting language, in this case, American sign language.”I think signing is beautiful. It’s so unique and very expressive,” said senior Raquel Ribich, a dancer who wants to continue her sign language training in college.”I agree. I was fascinated a long time ago myself,” said instructor Guglielmo, who team-teaches the morning class along with Kristen Weiner, program coordinator for the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf.The sign language course through Colorado Mountain College is the latest installment in a growing catalog of college-level courses offered within the high schools in the Roaring Fork School District. The on-campus classes offer students the opportunity to gain college-level credit during their junior and senior years. If the students earn a C grade or better, by state law they can seek reimbursement from the district for up to six credit hours per semester. During their last two years of high school, students could earn 24 hours of college credit for free, not counting the costs of books, and begin college well into their freshman year.”I cannot stress more what a great opportunity this is,” said Dodge Cottle, a BHS graduate who is studying ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “I guarantee that when you get to college, those few extra credits will go a very long way. It allowed me to skip some of the basic core classes that most freshmen have to take, letting me take more classes that I wanted to take.”Local high school students have long been able to take college classes at the CMC campuses to earn dual-credit. In recent years, however, the post-secondary classes have come into the high schools and been integrated into the normal daytime school schedule.For three years, the CU Succeed Gold program through the University of Colorado at Denver has provided classes in the high schools taught by current or retired high school teachers who have master’s degrees and are supervised by university department chairmen. CU Succeed started in the valley with college biology classes at Basalt High three years ago and has expanded to include classes at each of three large high schools in the district. As student interest and teacher participation has increased, students now have access to 42 hours of CU Succeed college credit with classes ranging from calculus to introduction to Shakespeare to environmental ethics.”With so many college students graduating in more than four years,” Cottle said, “taking college credit while still in high school can get you way ahead of the game.”For more RFSD info, visit, call 384-6000 or e-mail Romig is the RFSD’s public information officer.

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