College credit available next year through IU

Robert Sullivan, Reporter

Rather than gambling on one test in the Advanced Placement system, starting next year, LT students will be able to acquire college credit through a dual enrollment program with the University of Indiana-Bloomington. 

“This program allows our students to receive transcripted college credit from a prestigious Big Ten school,” Scott Eggerding, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, said. “If you take all [the classes offered], it would be like going to school at IU. Before graduating from LT, you could already have accumulated multiple hours in important classes.”

Passing the course would allow students to attain transferable college credit, meaning it can be directly applied towards the graduation requirements at any college, not just IU. The credit would stand not as a number, like in the Advanced Placement system, but instead as the letter grade received.                     

“Already at LT, we have a college credit partnership with College of Dupage,” Eggerding said. “However, our current program [with College of Dupage] is mainly for specialty classes and some business classes, whereas [the dual enrollment with IU] encompasses required college classes.”

LT is set to offer IU credit next school year for French III, French IV, Spanish III, Spanish IV, English Composition and English Literature, Eggerding said. Additional classes are still being considered and will be determined by teacher eligibility. 

The classes’ curriculum will be modeled directly after the university. Because of this, teachers will need to attend a two-day training on campus each summer. There, they will work alongside IU professors and countless other teachers involved in the program, Eggerding said.

Yet perhaps the more problematic requirement for teachers striving to qualify for IU’s program is a master’s degree or 18 hours in their content area, which is their area of specialty, Fine Arts Division chair Paula Nardi said. Although 86% of LT teachers have a master’s degree, only 20% of teachers in the English, Spanish, Italian, and French departments have a master’s in their content area, Nardi and Language Arts division chair Karen Raino said. 

“One huge benefit of our program is the money that can be saved,” Chester said.

“The certification requirements for teachers has presented itself as a little bit of a challenge,” Nardi said. “Even though we were approved by the board for Italian III and Italian IV, neither of our Italian teachers qualify to teach it right now. Fortunately, they are interested and IU offers reduced tuition for those that may want to go back and get their master’s.”

The idea behind IU dual enrollment at LT was spurred four years ago when Eggerding heard a presentation from a then York High School administrator who now works as an IU representative, Connie Chester. York had just begun its dual enrollment program with IU and the university was looking to expand it, Chester said.  

“Right away, we thought it sounded interesting and we knew our students would like the opportunity to get University of Indiana college credit for LT classes,” Eggerding said. “We then went down to Bloomington and found that it would be something we could certainly do.”

Currently, the program offers 40 core general education courses and operates in more than 200 public and private high schools across Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. To enroll, it costs students $25 per semester hour with an additional $150 fee for operating out-of-state.

“One huge benefit of our program is the money that can be saved,” Chester said. “Students have saved, collectively, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, the time freed up allows students to possibly graduate early.”

With such an array of benefits, Spanish teacher Lisa Plichta knows the new program will be helpful for students.

“With any big change comes a risk,” Plichta said. “But I trust, even though the teachers will have more work to do, this will be a good thing for the department and the students.”