By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo High School students will be able to earn college credit next year without leaving the Cliff Gookin Boulevard campus.
Officials from the Tupelo Public School District and Itawamba Community College announced during a Tuesday morning press conference they had reached an agreement on a dual credit/dual enrollment program. That means THS students who choose to participate will be able to take classes at the school that will count for both college and high school credit.
“The idea a student at Tupelo High School can graduate and be a college sophomore is phenomenal,” said Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden, who approached ICC about the partnership.
To enroll, participants must be juniors or seniors with a 2.5 GPA and a minimum of 16 on the ACT. Classes will be offered two days a week and will cost $100 each. That amount includes the cost of the textbook, and the application fee is waived.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for students,” said THS Principal Jason Harris.
To be classified as college sophomores, students would need to earn 24 hours.
A likely path would be for students to take one course during each semester of their junior year and two during each semester of their senior year. They could take additional summer and online courses. Most courses will carry three hours of college credit, and credits can be transferred to other institutions.
“We are excited today to be partnering with Tupelo High School,” said incoming ICC President Mike Eaton. “We think it is a win-win for both sides.”
Eaton said it made sense for the college to start this program with THS because of its size and location. He said ICC is in conversations about possibly expanding it to other school districts.
Classes will be taught by Tupelo teachers certified to teach college classes, by ICC instructors and online. Some students also may be able to take courses via video conferences.
Officials are still determining which classes will be offered. The district has a survey on its website, www.tupeloschools.com, to gauge interest. Letters were sent to THS parents last week.
Students can also talk to their counselors about their interest.
“Students are able to learn the rigors of college work early and able to adjust their study habits to college and be ready for the whole college experience,” said THS counselor Manessa Hadley.