2016 Education Magazine

LCHS students get a head start on college with Dual Credit
By Derek Hurley - Lincoln Daily News

During 'Coffee with the Superintendent' this past December, LCHS Superintendent Robert Bagby and School Board President James Mammen (left and right at the far end of the table) discussed both the Alternative Education programs and the Dual College Credit opportunities that give students a head start into whatever direction they are going after high school.

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[March 11, 2016]  In addition to the three alternative education programs offered at Lincoln Community High School, the school also offers another way for students to earn credit outside of normal means.

Currently, the school is in their fifth year of offering dual-credit courses to students. These courses can be used to earn college credit at either Lincoln College or with Heartland Community College.

Chris Hammer, a mathematics teacher at LCHS, teaches college-level courses as part of the dual-credit program. Currently, math students can earn college credit in Statistics with Heartland, or Calculus I and II with Lincoln College. “We have offered College Algebra in the past, and we offered Statistics with Lincoln College at one time,” said Hammer.

Hammer said that while College Algebra has been a little difficult at times due to differing requirements, Lincoln College and Heartland have done a good job at offering the same material for students enrolled in the dual credit classes. “We may try to offer College Algebra again in the future,” said Hammer.

Other courses are offered in multiple subject areas aside from math. Working with Heartland Community College, students can enroll in English 101 or 102 courses that are taught by Michelle Ryan. Students can also enroll in a section of Biology or Geology with Lincoln College taught by Sally Aukamp. Lincoln College also provides an instructor for a Speech class, as LCHS does not have access to a staff member qualified to teach that level of speech. Hammer said the courses are departmentalized much like any college campus.

All of these courses are taught on the LCHS campus, and function as general education credits for the purposes of college transcripts. In addition to these courses, Superintendent Robert Bagby said the school would like to look into offering vocational courses for credit in the future.

“Students have come back and told us it made things a lot easier,” said Hammer. “They can’t believe how much it helps. These kids get to start a semester ahead.”

Hammer said that classes offering dual credit are almost always completely filled. Students in these courses are encouraged to participate more in class, as the structure of the courses are more like college courses than typical high school classes.

“Pace can be the biggest challenge,” said Hammer. Hammer added that these courses help students to get used to the rigor and speed of a college classroom.

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Students are also introduced to the different type of grading that comes with college courses. In the typical high school setting, a final grade is based off of a full year of coursework. This year is often filled with assignments of varying importance and difficulty. However, at a college level, a class is only one semester, and a grade may be dependent on a handful of assignments. For example, a college math class may only be based off of a handful of exams and the final, as opposed to the high school math class which still has graded homework.

Hammer said that all of the dual-credit classes are free for students to enroll in. Furthermore, if a student earns an A or B grade in a class, they receive a $150 reimbursement.

Any student can sign up for the courses, provided they score well enough on a Compass placement test. Prior to the test, the school provides a series of study guides to prepare them for the exams.

“Any student can sign up for these to get a feel for college classes,” said Hammer. “And this is an opportunity for free credit hours, which is great.”

So far, Hammer said the program has been very successful, and LCHS will continue to offer these courses as time moves on.

Read all the articles in our new
2016 Education Magazine



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