[dfads params='groups=4969&limit=1&orderby=random']

Plenty of college-level courses for Carbon high school students

By Sun Advocate

Carbon High School students are offered more concurrent enrollment choices than any other high schools in the state under the Utah State system, the Carbon School District Board of Education was told during their December 14 regular board meeting.
In 2015 there were about 50 courses available for for Carbon High students, said Gary Straquadine, Associate Department Chair for Career Tech and Education at USU Eastern. This year the number of courses has advanced to 67.
Emery High School has 23.

A significant lead

He also stated that even in the Cache Valley, at the core of the Utah State system near USU’s main campus, the numbers are lower than Carbon High. Logan High School offers only 10, but that district tends to concentrate on AP classes rather than concurrent enrollment. But Sky View High School has 23 and Mountain Crest has 12, well below what is offered in Carbon County.
Compared to the Tooele region Carbon is also far and above in numbers. Grantsville High School has eight and Stansbury and Tooele High Schools have nine each.
In addition when compared to the Uintah Basin, Carbon is even higher that those schools. Despite a strong regional USU campus in Vernal, which is located just across the street from Uintah High School, that school offers only eight courses. Also in the Basin, Union High School has 10 and Duchesne High School has six.

‘A very sound model’

“All in all what we have in Carbon is a very sound model that we need to keep focused,” said Straquadine. “We need to keep it compatible with your system and your schedule and ours as well. This is one of the best deals I’ve seen in my 27 years of working in higher education, in terms of a university being able to cooperate with a high school.”
Straquadine said that the relationship the university is not just about Carbon High but with the entire school district. He said that to be effective the district and the university need to focus on pathways for students, particularly in the area of career and technical education. He said that the university should have such pathways “for every student who comes through the door.”

A partnership

But he also said this can be only done if cooperation is honest and goal oriented.
“The currency of a partnership is mutual goals, trust and communication,” he said. “If we don’t have these three things then we have no partnership.”
The product of the concurrent program are students who should benefit from having taken those classes by either eventually entering into the university they have taken them through or by going on to higher education opportunities elsewhere. As for what has happened in the last few years at Carbon High and USU Eastern, Straquadine had some positive things to report.

Sharpened the saw

“The good news is that over the past five years we have offered the same number of courses,” he said. “When this university was the College of Eastern Utah it was not exactly the same, but some other courses were offered. Since then we have sharpened our saw. Carbon High had 194 graduates between 2012 and 2014 who completed at least one concurrent course and at least 115 of those came to USU after graduation. The students who are taking courses are coming into our system. This is a high yield for us.”
He said that many students that take concurrent enrollment at schools often go to other universities than where they took the classes. Overall this is a positive because the goal is to advance students careers. But USU would like to see the number of courses and the number of students taking them expand in the area.
“We have a very healthy pipeline that we would like to nurture and advance,” he said.
One of the problems over the years has been scheduling. The high school schedule is different from the university’s and that sometimes creates problems for students who come to the college campus to take classes. That is particularly true when the high school has a pep assembly schedule or an abbreviated schedule of some kind. But officials are working on this and there are alternatives as well.
One is a closed system that allows high school teachers to become appropriately educated to teach the college classes at the high school. Currently there are a couple of teachers at the high school that can and do this, but Straquadine said he would like to see more be able to do so.
In addition USU has expanded their broadcast system for general education courses. This keeps students at the high school and does save a little bit of time. But there while there are advantages to this, there are some disadvantages too. However, Straquadine feels that the scheduling problem is really just a matter of following the principles of what was stated earlier.
“This is only a small rub, “ said Straquadine. “This is not something that kills the deal here. That is something we can work on because we do have those mutual goals, trust and open communication.”
The idea of students going to the college campus is not lost on some students or parents either though, despite the fact that going directly to the campus can take two periods away from a high school students schedule.
“I was at a meeting where we were discussing this and a parent pulled me aside and said that they liked the idea of their daughter taking courses on the college campus,” said Carbon District Superintendent Steve Carlsen. “She said that they thought it was a good thing to get their child ready for college campus life.”
The financial requirements and rules for teaching on campus/off campus also vary and create some interesting situations. When a Carbon High instructor teaches a college course the state gives 60 percent of the money for that course to the high school and 40 percent to the district. When a college instructor teaches it, 60 percent goes to the college and 40 percent to the school district.
“Under this financial model we are not making a lot of money nor are we losing a lot of money,” said Straquadine.
But even with the problems involved, almost everyone agrees that the concurrent enrollment program as it continues to evolve is a good thing for students, parents and the community at large.
“Sometimes people in small towns feel like they are really limited,” said Board Member Kristen Taylor after Straquadine’s presentation. “I am really excited about this and the expansion of our relationship with USU Eastern.”
For those that are interested in what is being offered as concurrent enrollment at Carbon High a glace at the colleges concurrent enrollment website at https://concurrent.usu.edu/ can be educational and informative.

[dfads params='groups=1745&limit=1&orderby=random']
scroll to top