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Summer school program helps students get ahead

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By The Staff

 

To many, summer school is a place where students with poor grades make up for it with extra work. Taylor County High School is attempting to change that view with its summer school program that allows students to progress through school ahead of schedule.

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, 21st Century grant director and host of the program, says that students are given tests to determine their skill level and advance accordingly from there.

“A student cannot bypass Algebra 1 and take Algebra 2 without still achieving the class credits,” she said. “However, the student can take the Algebra 1 test and achieve the credit without taking the class. On the other hand, a remedial math student may take those courses over the summer to improve their skill level and prepare them for the next step.”

Fitzpatrick said the program offers college courses through many different forms, including online courses, dual credit programs through the high school and classes at Campbellsville University at a cost of $65 per credit hour, much cheaper than $500 per credit hour through the university. The main goal of the program is to help prepare students for college life.

“It really helps college-bound kids get ready for a specific route for college,” she said. “We have kids graduating that already have 12 hours [a full semester] in college credits.”

Scott Necessary, director of dual credit at CU, said the program is meant to help students get a quick start toward college, but is also useful in other ways.

“Dual credit students tend to be high achievers and get done with their programs sooner,” he said. “The dual credit program is also a great recruiting tool for the school. Students feel they’ve already seen what to expect from our classes and it makes the transition easier for them.”

Necessary said that the costs of the program are lower than at the university because there are less investments made.

“We don’t have to have space to teach in because the high school already provides that, much of the resources we would have to provide are instead provided by the high school, we just have to provide the teacher,” he said.

Dana Rogers, a guidance counselor at Taylor County High School, says the program is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to attempt it.

“I encourage students to take the opportunity because it’s a good rate and it eases them into the college regimen, which is different from high school.”

Rogers said that she pushes students to take courses not eligible for dual credit during the school year, but there is often another aspect of the program students overlook before starting.

“The time it takes is more than they often realize,” Rogers said. “The program does promote learning time management and getting used to a routine, which I think is good for them. I highly recommend this program to all interested students.”

One of the students who benefited from the program is Brittney Gaddis, a recent Taylor County High School graduate. Gaddis graduated with 20 credit hours in college courses, which is more than a full semester’s worth.

“I’m self motivated and wanted to get classes done sooner and cheaper,” Gaddis said. “I want to travel, maybe study abroad. I’ll be studying pharmacy, which is four extra years I’ll have to go to school, so cutting back on some of the schooling I’ll have to do and getting it done cheaper helps.”

Gaddis said that the traditional stereotype of summer school holds some students back from taking advantage of the program.

“Yeah, lots of kids think it’s not cool, but they don’t know the opportunities they have available,” she said. “Courses that I had to spend a year taking like arts and humanities or computer applications, they can finish in just a day or so through summer school.”

For more information on dual-credit classes, contact the local school districts or speak with a guidance counselor.