ISU Headlines

ISU, school districts to offer high school students “early college” opportunities

Posted October 19, 2007

IDAHO FALLS – A Concurrent Enrollment Partnership Memorandum of Understanding was signed Oct. 18 between officials from Idaho State University and the Region VI Superintendents Association, which is comprised of 19 Upper Snake River Valley school districts.

The Early College MOU acknowledges, sets the terms, facilitates and expands opportunities for high school students to earn credit toward high school graduation and college degree completion at a reduced fee – saving them both time and money. ISU President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D., and Gordon Woolley, President of the Region VI Superintendents Association, signed the agreement.

“This is a good thing for all of our school districts and is long overdue,” Woolley said. “I’m glad we have this good relationship with ISU, and the partnership will benefit our students.”

 “Concurrent enrollment” as defined under this MOU occurs when a public high school student enrolls in an approved ISU course for ISU credit. The student earns credit both toward a high school diploma and an ISU degree or certificate. The student continues to be counted in the high school Average Daily Attendance. In addition, the ISU credits earned become part of the student’s permanent ISU record.

“By signing this MOU, we’re laying out the framework to build on and expand our already successful program. We’re providing students an opportunity to accelerate completion of a college degree at a reduced fee while they are still in high school,” said ISU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Wharton, Ph.D. “The ISU Early College program allows students to gain an understanding of what it takes to be successful in college-level work and completion of concurrent courses may lead more students in Idaho to consider a college education as an achievable goal.”

During the spring 2007 semester 788 individual high school students signed up for concurrent credit classes at ISU through the Early College Program, according to Barbara Bishop, ISU Early College Program director. For fall 2007, 861 students had signed up by the tenth day with an additional 175-225 expected when final figures for the term are calculated.  The majority of these students took classes at their own high schools during regular class hours while being taught by a high school teacher who had been approved as an ISU adjunct instructor.

High schools currently involved in the program include Aberdeen, American Falls, Century, Challis, Emmett, Grace, Highland, Hillcrest, Malad, Marsh Valley, North Gem, Pocatello, Preston, Rigby, Sho-Ban, Skyline, Snake River, Soda Springs, Teton and West Jefferson. Other schools where spring classes will be held include Madison, Bonneville, and West Side. The Meridian Medical Arts Charter School also is participating.

Both signers said they expected to see increased participation by additional schools and students as a result of this MOU.

During the academic year, available courses include English Composition I, Intro to Literature, Calculus, Statistics, French, Spanish and German, U.S. History I and II, Biology 101 and 102, Anatomical Foundations of Human Activity, physics, chemistry, American Government, Personal Economics, Western civilization, along with other classes. So far, a number of the students who have taken these classes have matriculated to ISU, and the credits are transferable to other Idaho institutions and a number of other colleges and universities in our region and around the country.

The ISU Early College Program’s official goal is: “ To provide academically prepared Idaho high school students an opportunity to earn lower division general education ISU credits, as well as elective ISU credits required for an associate degree or certificate, with the intent of preparing students for a successful post-secondary education and/or career and work experience.”

For more information on the ISU Early College Program, call (208) 282-6067.

The Region VI Superintendents Association represents the Shelley Joint School District #60, Idaho Falls School District #91, Blackfoot School District #55, Swan Valley School District #92, Bonneville Joint School District #93, Butte County Joint School District #111, Clarke County School District #161, Challis Joint School District #181, Mackay Joint School District #182, Fremont County Joint School District #215, Jefferson County Joint School District #251, Ririe Joint School District #252, West Jefferson School District #253, Salmon School District #291, South Lemhi School District #292, Madison School District #321, Sugar-Salem Joint School District #322 and Teton County School District #401.