By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — High schools are focusing more and more on preparing students for college, and Logansport High School and the Century Career Center are no exception.
During the 2012 school year, dual credits, courses in which high school students can earn both high school and college credits, offered at Century Career Centered jumped from 36 to 107. During the same school year, 370 students earned a total of 1,464 dual credits, which is over $200,000 saved in tuition, said James Little, director of the career center.
Ninety percent of dual credits offered have no charge, allowing great savings to the family and student when looking at tuition costs, Little said.
Dual credits are offered in many programs including criminal justice, web page design, building construction, medical programs, machine tool and die machine trades, early childhood education and a variety of other classes. This year they will be adding digital photography and engineering programs, Little said.
Bruce Jordan, criminal justice teacher at the Century Career Center, understands the importance of the dual-credit program. A level I and II criminal justice class is offered to students.
Jordan, who taught criminal justice at the Kokomo Area Career Center for five years before coming to Logansport, said the program gives the students such an advantage, particularly if they’re going on to a state-supported university, the dual credits are transferable to any state-supported school and any of their extensions.
“In same cases, the student might realize they don’t like the class, but at least they found that out before spending a ton of money in college,” Jordan said. “We try to have them take a look at some of career options and give them exposure of what they might want to do.”
Students who take the first level criminal justice class, where they can earn up to six credits, will go over law enforcement, courts and corrections. The second-level class will offer up to three credits and concentrate on criminal investigation and forensic science. Dual credits are currently offered to Ivy Tech and Vincennes University. Little hopes more credits will be offered this fall.
The dual credit programs offered are one year where college programs are a semester. Credits are issued to students in the second semester.
“It’s important for trying to get students on track for a college program,” Little said. “This allows them to get their foot in the door of the program.”
Students have the potential to leave high school with a semester of college credits, if not more, completed. Students are earning their first college transcript while taking the classes, Little said.
By the time a student graduates, he can walk away with up to 15 or 20 dual credits, not counting additional credits offered at the high school, Little said.
Logansport High School offers 70 dual credits including Advanced Placement classes.
”Dual credits are a huge part of our program of studies and important to our school,” said Matt Jones, principal of the high school.
Dual credits at the high school are a partnership with Indiana University, Ivy Tech and Vincennes University. Recent graduates have been transferring well over 30 credits in to Indiana universities, Jones said.
It saves money and prepares them for college level school work, he said. This year an Ivy Tech political science and Indiana University speech dual credit have been added.
”The junior and senior experience is becoming a collegiate atmosphere and that’s what we want,” Jones said. “We want more kids to go to college and think about college.”
Jones said most students realize how beneficial the credits are and they even hear about it as soon as eighth-grade orientation.
”We can’t be happier with the amount of kids taking dual credit courses,” Jones said. “It’s attractive to go in to college and have 30 credits out of the way. It’s such an advantage, especially with college prices.”
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.