BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot High School's dual enrollment program has grown in recent years and students are now able to choose from 33 dual credit courses and other college credit options while in high school.
Blackfoot High School Principal John Pearce and Dean of Students and Counselor Vicki Johnson made a presentation to the Blackfoot School Board of Trustees last week about the advanced education opportunities currently offered at BHS.
Dual credit courses are classes taught at the high school to meet school requirements, but students may also receive college credit. Teachers gain certification through ongoing training and supervision from the universities and technical programs.
“We have grown these offerings with a highly qualified, dedicated staff to ensure students are challenged and prepared for post-secondary endeavors," Johnson said.
BHS currently offers 33 dual credit courses, 12 Advanced Placement courses and eight professional technical programs. Courses are offered at the high school, on campus at university sites and online.
The goal, Johnson said, is to prevent students from having to repeat classes—especially when they are planning to attend one of the universities partnered with BHS. There are several agreements in place for programs such as welding, business systems, IT systems, auto technology, culinary arts and childhood development.
By partnering with Idaho universities students also pay less per credit than they would if they were enrolled at the university, reducing the overall cost of higher education.
“Courses offered on our campus can be taken at a reduced cost, as compared to taking the same credits at the university level," Johnson said. Students pay $65 per credit for the dual credit course, while student taking the same course could pay up to $290 per credit at the university. “In most cases, students are only paying about 20 percent of costs paid once enrolled at the university level.”
AP courses also allow students to earn college credits through advance placement tests that can be used for credit at most colleges and universities nationwide, with tests offered at $87. “This is a great opportunity for our students to earn college credits while in high school.”
Pearce said they hope to educate students and their parents as early as middle school about the opportunities to obtain college credit in high school.
“Parents of middle school students need to know about advanced-ed opportunities to help their students make informed decisions about their future, be it at a traditional university or a technical institute,” said Pearce.
He said he would also like to reach out to the local community to provide scholarships to students who cannot afford to pay for dual credit or AP courses.