Re-2 clarifies concurrent enrollment policies |

Re-2 clarifies concurrent enrollment policies

Jerimie Richardson and Ryan Hoffman

Revisions to Garfield School District Re-2’s policies regarding concurrent enrollment will not significantly hinder high school students ability to participate in the popular program, despite some earlier confusion to the contrary.

The school board adopted the changes earlier this month that, among other things, will allow students to take two classes rather than be restricted by six credit hours.

Concurrent enrollment allows Coal Ridge and Rifle high school students to earn college credit through Colorado Mountain College — credit that can be applied toward their major or a professional certificate at the next level.

Prior to the policy change, Garfield Re-2 paid for students to take six credits a semester provided they maintain a “C” average or better, according to the district. Now the policy will pay for two full classes.

In discussing the change, district officials used the example of a student taking a five-credit biology class. Under the old policy, those students would be unable to take an additional class because it would exceed the credit hour cap.

Students must also choose courses that either meet or exceed the district’s standards. Additionally, courses that are substantially similar to a course offered by the district, including advanced placement and international baccalaureate, are off limits. However, exceptions can be made due to extenuating circumstances with administrator approval.

According to the district, Garfield Re-2 will not have as many on-site classes, but that is due to a requirement that concurrent enrollment instructors have a master’s degree. Many of the instructors have not reached that level yet. Options for electives through CMC will be expanding.

There was some confusion regarding concurrent enrollment that led a few district parents to attend a March board meeting under the false belief that the partnership might be constricted or even abandoned.

The parents fears were quickly allayed as board members explained the policy change.

However, the incident did serve notice to board members that the language of the policy might benefit from being more clearly defined to avoid confusion in the future. That led to the policies approved on April 19, although Jay Rickstrew, board vice president, noted that the topic would likely need to be revisited in the future.

During a workshop on March 31, the consensus was that the concurrent enrollment partnership is of great benefit so long as students are well mentored by their guidance counselors and stick to their individual learning plans — not taking too many electives or classes that may otherwise have a low chance of being accepted for credit at the college level.

At the workshop, Larry Brady, Re-2 curriculum director, praised the unique opportunities available through concurrent enrollment for students who are willing to put in the work.

“We’ve had a handful of some very motivated students,” Brady said, “(who’ve decided) ‘I’m not going to leave the valley, my folks don’t have a lot of money. I want to be a vet tech and go to Glenwood so I’m going to do some things to get me ready for that.’”

Terese Playle, who works at Rifle City Market and whose twin daughters Morgan and Daniella are both seniors at Rifle High, has enjoyed a very positive experience with concurrent enrollment. This was her daughters’ first year participating in the program.

Both girls took English composition and Daniella also took college math, both general education requirements that count toward every major, which should save the Playle family both time and money when the girls go off to college next year.

“I liked (concurrent enrollment) because they could do it during school,” Playle said.

In an interview, Rachel Pokrandt, dean of the CMC Rifle campus, had nothing but good things to say about concurrent enrollment.

“Our concurrent enrollment partnership is a model program,” Pokrandt said, adding she was pleased with the policy change from six credit hours to two full classes.

Pokrandt also is very proud of the fact that two graduating Re-2 high school seniors last year were also able to earn an associate’s degree through CMC because of concurrent enrollment.

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