SMAHS students earn college credits through dual enrollment program

Dual enrollment programs providing high school students the opportunity to earn college credits in the course of a normal school day will be offered by the St. Marys Area High School in the upcoming school year. At its recent meeting, the St. Marys Area School District Board of Directors announced the approval of a cooperative academic program entitled "College in High School" between St. Francis University and the district for the 2012-2013 school year. This is in addition to the high school also partnering with the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and Mount Aloysius College in offering dual enrollment programs to qualifying high school students. SMASD Superintendent Ann Kearney said students participating in the courses are able to attain up to 15 college credits by the time they graduate. She said college-level courses have been offered to SMAHS students in years past, adding that last year saw 44 students participate in courses offered through St. Francis and eight students participate in a Spanish course through the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford's "College in the Classroom" program."It would be nice if every student would take advantage of it because for between $125 and $160, they get three college credits and you can actually end up graduating from our high school with 15 college credits," Kearney said. Kearney said the precursors to a high school student's participation in dual enrollment program are their being recommended for a course by a teacher of that same subject along and obtaining parental consent. Kearney said these college-level courses are taught by SMASD faculty members, with a master's degree or master's equivalency being a prerequisite. She said that in teaching the college courses offered through the dual enrollment program, faculty members must adhere to the syllabus as provided by the university. This year, the St. Francis program will offer the following courses: Statistics I, Biology, Elementary German II, Intermediate German I, Pre-Calculus, General Physics I, Elementary Spanish II, and Intermediate Spanish I, each at a cost of $160 per course.