Spencer High launches summer dual credit program

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Enrolled students can earn high school, college credit simultaneously

By Mallory Bilger

High school is just not what it used to be. Students are increasingly headed in different academic directions, from selecting technical career paths to racking up high school and college credits simultaneously. And this summer, school can still be in session for those students wanting to get a jump on higher education.
The Spencer County Board of Education moved May 20 to allocate $6,000 to a summer dual credit program through Campbellsville University which would allow students to earn high school and college credit at the same time. The approved proposal included funding and supplies for a college algebra course, a biology course and an English composition course. The courses are to be held at the high school in July and will be taught by three SCHS faculty members accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Spencer County High School Assistant Principal Steve Rucker said the initiative is just one more way to provide non-traditional opportunities for students looking to get ahead of the academic game while promoting college and career readiness.
“I see us being able to offer much more flexible things,” Rucker said.
Perhaps the less traditional aspect of the dual credit program is that it is open to any students in the area, including those who are home schooled or attend private institutions.
“We want to show off some of the great programs we have here at the high school,” Rucker told the school board in May.
Right now, Rucker said he and SCHS Principal Curt Haun are gauging community interest for the summer courses by sending out surveys. The courses will only be offered if 10 or more students enroll. Rucker said one of the attractive aspects of the classes is that they are offered at the drastically reduced rate of $195 per course, or $65 per credit hour. A scholarship program will also be available through the Spencer County Youth Service Center to students who might not be able to pay the full tuition cost. Students must also meet Campbellsville University’s admission standards, which include an overall high school grade-point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale and 21 or higher ACT composite score.  There are also opportunities for students to enroll in online courses through the program.
Courses will open July 1 if enough students enroll, and will meet five days a week for three hours each day. Rucker said in the future the high school hopes to offer a longer summer session with courses that meet less frequently, but the school had to act fast to get the program off the ground this summer.
Superintendent Chuck Adams was overall supportive of the proposal, but said there had been some question about utilizing taxpayer money to fund a program that was open to students not enrolled in Spencer County Schools. He was also concerned about a lack of interest.
“There’s a lot of different dynamics to this,” Adams said.
However, Rucker said opening the program to all students, including those not enrolled in Spencer County Schools, might afford the program the opportunity to succeed in its first years if enrollment is low.
Board member Debbie Herndon said even if the program started slow, she thought it had great potential.
“I think this is something that may be a slow start thing because of the crunch time this year,” she said. “I think next year you will see major dividends from this.”
Haun and Rucker agreed Adams and the board have been very supportive of innovative ideas like offering summer dual credit courses.
“We’re a twenty-first century high school,” Rucker said.
For additional information about the summer dual credit opportunity, contact the high school at 477-3255 or email steven.rucker@spencer.kyschools.us or curt.haun@spencer.kyschools.us.