The Switzerland County School Corporation is considering a program that would create a partnership allowing high school students to take classes that would count both as high school and college credits.
Katie Mote, President of the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Madison, made a presentation at last Monday’s meeting of the Switzerland County School Board. That presentation included a proposal for the school corporation to help provide and promote dual credit and dual enrollment classes.
“We invite you to give some consideration to the future state of your program,” Mote told the school board. “Where in your students, like the young ladies who are excellent athletes (the board had honored the Sectional Champion Lady Pacer basketball team at the start of the meeting), can also leave and graduate from high school having completed their first year of college. Which, for those of you who have students currently enrolled in college or who are getting ready to go to college, carries a price tag of at least $20,000 a year for a public, four year, Indiana institution.”
Mote told the board that she wanted to frame the conversation not only around the future, but also around the needs of the community.
“We have an obligation as educators to make sure that your graduates and our graduates can go out into the world where technology will be part of the fabric and fiber of every single interaction and task that we touch during the day,” Mote said. “We know that working in an environment that is dominated by that technology demands an additional level of education in every employment sector in the State of Indiana, within our region of Southeastern Indiana, and across the United States; so we can continue to be competitive with countries like China.”
Mote said that along with education, schools also need to align with business and industry in the area that a school serves in order to help make sure that a graduating student has the skills needed to be beneficial to an employer.
She said that Switzerland County is doing a good job of that with its ‘Project Lead the Way’ program.
“We also know that the rate of education that a person has is directly proportionate to the amount of income that they earn, which is directly proportionate to their quality of life,” Mote said. “So everyone in this room knows that education beyond high school is essential; and Switzerland County High School is aware of the needs here in our area.”
In order to provide students with their best opportunity to succeed, Mote said that it is important that second education align with post secondary education and also business and industry in creating a K-14 system.
“Not ending at your high school years, but partnering with and helping students to be able to earn their first year of college in a community that has a rate of free and reduced lunch in the neighborhood of 75-percent,” she said. “It’s 55-percent in Jefferson County, so we know that these students need this assistance, and we need it as a state so that we can be competitive and have a skilled workforce.”
Mote said that Ivy Tech has been partners with Switzerland County High School since the early 2000s, when the high school and the college began a ‘dual credit’ relationship. She said that in 2012 the state legislature created a focus on asking secondary schools to seek and develop relationships with post-secondary schools which would create “seamless pathways” allowing students to earn a variety of outcomes.
“In 2014 the Governor created the works council, whose initiative was to align business to secondary ed and post secondary ed, to engage students in these programs,” Mote said.
Mote said that ‘dual credit’ are opportunities that students have at the high school to have classes, taught by high school faculty, to earn college credit. She showed the school board a page of classes which include a core group of 30 credits that are standard for students in their first two years of college. She had highlighted the classes that the Switzerland County School System currently provides for students as ‘dual credit’ at no charge.
“You see some gaps in the list,” Mote said.
To illustrate what she was talking about, Mote used a series of six jars representing different disciplines of study, and ping pong balls as credits that need to be distributed into the different disciplines.
Mote said that ‘dual enrollment’ differs from ‘dual credit’ because with ‘dual enrollment’ a student takes classes at the Ivy Tech campus taught by Ivy Tech faculty.
“Without a dual enrollment partnership, your students cannot earn this first year of college,” Mote said. “While we know that dual credit is fantastic, that students are getting the opportunity to earn college credit; we also know when we look at the data that it is not enough.”
Mote said that nationally, Indiana ranks in the bottom 10 in states in terms of educational attainment.
Mote said that, in working with high school Principal Gregg Goewert and Director of Guidance Marla Edwards, it has been determined that there would be 15 incoming seniors (Class of 2016) next year who would benefit from this partnership; as well as between 24-28 incoming juniors (Class of 2017) who could benefit from this first year of partnership.
Her proposal was for the school corporation to purchase between 39-43 ‘seats’, based on those numbers, so that those students could attain dual enrollment credit by going to the Ivy Tech campus in Madison and taking classes there taught by Ivy Tech faculty members.
She told the board that she was asking for an investment:
n Tuition cost at Ivy Tech is $131.15 per credit hour. Starting with a Communication 101 class, which is three credit hours, that would mean that the class would cost $393.45 for one student to earn those three college credits.
n If the school corporation ‘bought’ 39 seats in that class, the cost to the school corporation would be $15,344.55. If the corporation purchased 43 seats, the cost would be $16,918.35.
n In addition to that, there is also a $60 technology fee that Mote said was “non negotiable”, and that it was a fee is charged by the college to maintain infrastructure, electronic and otherwise. With 39 seats, that would be an additional $2,340; and for 43 seats, that would be an additional $2,580.
n So, in total, for the school corporation to purchase 39 seats in a dual enrollment, three credit hour class, there would be a charge of $17,684.55; and for 43 seats the charge would be $19,498.35.
So, if the school corporation provided one three-credit course for students in the fall and another in the spring, for the 39 seats the total investment would be $35,369.10 and for the 43 seats would be $38,996.70.
The school board members asked about transportation; and Mote said that it would be the school corporation’s responsibility. She also said that the school board could design a program where students/parents shared in the cost of the dual enrollment classes, because of the savings that the parents will see compared to paying for their student to be on a college campus taking those classes.
The school board asked for more time to consider the proposal; and will take up the matter again at an ‘open working session’ that is being planned sometime before the board’s next regular meeting in May, but a time and date have not yet been set.