Dual Enrollment Opportunities for All Alabama High School Students

Fall 2015 | Permalink | Category: Career

Dual Enrollment Opportunities 
By: Sherry A. Fitzpatrick
     What is dual enrollment and how can it help you, just a high school student? Dual enrollment affords high school students an opportunity to enroll in postsecondary courses while still attending high school. There are countless benefits when choosing to participate in a dual enrollment program. The ability to earn college and high school credits while still in high school sounds like a dream to many students. recent studies have shown that participation in dual enrollment programs is associated with beneficial outcomes such as an increase in high school graduation and college enrollment rates, raised high school and college grade point averages, and progress toward completing a college degree. Dual enrollment can actually motivate students who are not on track to college or who thought they were not college material. Even those who have struggled in their high school classes can rise to the challenge motivated by the chance to be in a college setting learning what interests them. 

    A new day dawned for Alabama high school students on March 11, 2015. The Alabama State Board of Education amended the Alabama Administrative Code, Rule No. 290-3-1-.02, pertaining to secondary course credit awarded for postsecondary course work. Previously, this rule stated "six(6) semester credit hours (2) college courses) at the post-secondary level shall equal one (1) Carnegie Unit credit at the high school level in the same or related subject." The NEW rule is "One(1) three semester hours (one(1) college course) postsecondary/college-level course shall equal one (1) high school Carnegie credit in same or related subject." In the case of English 11 and/or English 12, some additional action will be required between the local education agency and the participating postsecondary institution as to how the credit for English 11 and/or English 12 will be awarded for high school students. 

     Can you imagine a day when high school students are able to participate in various dual enrollment programs for free? Imagine no longer, becuase it has become a reality for today's students. If any high school student participates in a high demand high wage career technical degree program at a postsecondary institution, he or she may also take the core academics required in that degree plan-tuition, fees, and books can be paid for through a Workforce Development grant/scholarship-regardless of the family's financial needs or status. For example, a student pursuing and associate's degree in Engineering Graphics and Animation can take College Chemistry 1 and the introductory course Basic Computer-Aided Drafting and Design during the same semester, and not incur any financial obligation. Upon successful completion of both classes, the student will receive a high school Chemistry credit and an elective credit towards his or her high school diploma, as well as postsecondary credits towards his or her associate's degree. Imagine the doors this can begin opening for high school students in Alabama's public education system. For many years, several states have been allowing one-to-one credits for dual enrollment. Alabama students now have the same ability to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution without any financial burden. It is also just a little easier for our high school students to begin working toward achieving their educational and career goals earlier in life.
    Carroll High School Career Center, in partnership with  Wallace Community College of Dothan, is able to offer several options for dual enrollment to the students of Ozark City and Dale County high schools. Students have the option of pursuing Criminal Justice, Engineering Graphics and Animation, Medical Assisting, Business Technologies, or Child Development degree plans. Each of these degree plans include core academic courses, that will also count toward required high school courses. Carroll High School Career Center also partners with Enterprise State Community College to offer Aviation Maintenance. All of these programs are offered free of charge to the students through funding from the Work Force Development grant/scholarship Now is the time for students to begin taking the reins of their futures into their own hands and learning about all the new options and opportunities available to them. 

     Sherry A. Fitzpatrick is the Guidance and Career Counselor at Caroll High School Career Center, Ozark, Alabama. She has a bachelor's degree in P-12 Special Education (mild learning and behavioral disabilities) and a master's degree in counseling and psychology with an endorsement in school counseling. She has worked in the public education system in both Florida and Alabama for a total of 17 years.