By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Students from at least 12 Northeast Mississippi high schools will be able to earn college credit next year without leaving campus.
Itawamba Community College has reached agreements with six school districts to offer the courses, which count for both high school and higher education requirements, beginning in the fall. School boards in the Tupelo and Lee County school districts approved the terms on Tuesday.
ICC also has made deals with the Monroe County, Pontotoc City and Houston school districts and is finalizing one with Itawamba County, said Sara Johnson, ICC’s vice president of instructional services. They also could expand to other districts, she said.
“It has just been something that has grown,” she said.
The courses will cost students $100 after a $250 scholarship from ICC is applied. Some school districts will cover the cost of textbooks, while those in others must pay for them.
To be eligible for these dual enrollment/dual credit classes, students must have completed 12 of the core high school units with a 2.5 grade-point average and an ACT composite score of 16.
Some schools will only offer them to seniors, but others are also allowing juniors, Johnson said.
Courses offered will vary by district. Examples could include college algebra, English composition, Spanish and anatomy and physiology, among others.
Students can take them on their high school campus, taught by either an ICC instructor, a high school teacher who meets ICC’s criteria or via an online-learning platform. The idea is that students can earn college credit before they graduate high school and will be exposed to college-level courses.
Credits can be transferred to other institutions, and participation will not make students ineligible to earn college scholarships.
The Lee County School District will use online learning to allow students at each of its three high schools – Saltillo, Shannon and Mooreville – to enroll in the same class. Monroe County will also use eLearning, Johnson said.
Lee County will offer Spanish and English composition next year and hopes to include college algebra soon. Tupelo plans to offer college algebra, anatomy and physiology, biology and English composition, although that could fluctuate depending on the number of students who sign up for those or other classes.
“It will help the students be ahead going into college,” said Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks.