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ISU, school districts sign pact to expand students’ opportunities

March 2, 2007

Officials with Idaho State University and the League of Schools, a consortium of 15 southeast Idaho school districts, on March 2 signed a Concurrent Enrollment Partnership Memorandum of Understanding.

The 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 Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert Wharton, and League of Schools President Chad Struhs, signed the agreement.

“This is a momentous occasion for this partnership between the League of Schools and ISU to be able to offer high school students that stepping stone to help them to secure their ability to do well in higher education,” Struhs said. “We can partner to help the students and it has been a great experience to be at the table with the administration of ISU. They’ve been highly supportive. This agreement is very important for public education in southeast Idaho, both for public K through 12 and higher education.”

“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,” ISU’s Wharton said.  “The 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 fall 2006 semester 807 individual high school students signed up for a total of 3,094 university-level academic credit hours at ISU through the Concurrent Enrollment Program, according to Barbara Bishop, ISU Early College Program coordinator. 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, Highland, Hillcrest, North Gem, Pocatello, Preston, Rigby, Sho-Ban, Skyline, Snake River, Soda Spring and West Jefferson. 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, 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, American Government, Personal Economics, and an Introduction to Engineering, along with others. So far, about 50 percent 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 Concurrent Enrollment 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.


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