Dual credit courses prepare students for college, career | PostIndependent.com

Dual credit courses prepare students for college, career

Re-2 News
Theresa Hamilton
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted PhotoThe Garfield Re-2 Transportation Department spearheaded a suitcase drive for Garfield County Human Services. They were able to collect more than 40 suitcases and donated them to Garfield County Human Services. The suitcases will be given to children who are placed in foster homes. Many children are forced to use trash bags when they move, and the suitcases will provide structure and dignity as part of the process. Pictured are Rachel Mettauer, Garfield County Foster Care Coordinator, Director of Transportation Sanja Morgan, Gail Boesch from Garfield County Human Services, and Lenord Kuper with the Re-2 Transportation Department.

When Alyssa Jacobs graduates from Coal Ridge High School in two years, she will be able to enter college with nearly a year’s worth of credit and prepared for the intensity that college classes bring. That will be a huge time and financial savings to the CRHS junior.

Jacobs, and dozens of students like her in Garfield Re-2 and Parachute District 16 school districts, are able to participate in dual credit classes through Colorado Mountain College. The classes, also called concurrent enrollment, provide students with both high school and college credit. With the support of energy industry partners Encana and Bill Barrett Corp., more students will benefit from this opportunity.

Colorado Mountain College announced last week that the CMC Foundation received gifts of $70,000 from Encana and $15,000 from Bill Barrett Corp. over two years to support students from these two districts as they prepare for their futures after high school. The funding will support approximately 200 students taking one or two classes each semester.

Families pay for the classes in advance, and if they receive a “C” or better in the course, the school district reimburses the students for the tuition. As school districts search for creative ways to handle decreased state funding, the support from Encana and Bill Barrett Corp. comes at an opportune time. Last year about 100 students participated in the program. Colorado Mountain College hopes that the additional support will provide increased opportunities for Garfield Re-2 and District 16 students for 2010-11 and 2011-12. Jacobs is currently taking Carmen McCracken’s American Literature dual credit class and says the experience is well worth the extra work.

“The class challenges me and exposes me to books that are not covered in regular high school English. It also acclimates me to the college environment,” she explained. Amber Pagni, another American Literature student, said the workload is the biggest difference in the class.

“You are treated like a college student. If you need help, it is your responsibility to get help, just like it will be in college,” explained Pagni.

Students can choose from many traditional academic classes including English, math and social studies, as well as career and technical classes including welding, culinary arts and certified nursing assistant.

Both Garfield Re-2 and District 16 see the opportunity that Colorado Mountain College dual credit classes give the students is immeasurable.

“In our world today it is necessary for these students to have an education in order to thrive. This dual credit program gives them all a head start on either college or their career while saving them thousands of dollars. In the economic state we are in and with the budget cuts for the future, offering the opportunity for the students to take these courses is invaluable,” explained Sarah Orona, president of the Garfield County School District 16 school board.

Energy industry partners Encana and Bill Barrett Corp. are happy to contribute to these students’ success.

“We are pleased to be providing students with a chance to start college early as well as save their families money,” explained Doug Hock, director of community relations with Encana.

“Our contributions to a community should be as far-reaching as possible,” said Bill Barrett Corp.’s Doug Dennison. “Oil and gas is a long-term proposition, and so is education. Both enterprises will reap benefits locally years from now.”

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