Dual enrollment classes can double a high schooler’s degrees

 

Last Thursday, attorney and former President of the Culpeper Bar Gil Berger spoke to students in Eastern View’s dual enrollment class - Survey of Criminal Justice. It may add to their class load but students can earn credits toward a college degree. Photo by Ian Chini
Last Thursday, attorney and former President of the Culpeper Bar Gil Berger spoke to students in Eastern View’s dual enrollment class – Survey of Criminal Justice. It may add to their class load but students can earn credits toward a college degree.
Photo by Ian Chini

 

“We wanted to go big,” Culpeper Public School Superintendent Dr. Tony Brads said.

He was talking about the new Survey of Criminal Justice Course now offered to high school students this year.

As a result Eastern View hosted the top levels of law enforcement in Culpeper County over the course of a week. It was a big line starting last Monday with Commonwealth Attorney Paul Walther followed each consecutive day with  Sheriff Scott Jenkins, Victim/Witness Program Director Mark Nowaki, Gil Berger, former President of the Culpeper Bar and General District Court Judge Dale Durrer. All gave presentations to the class and in return answered questions. One class a day for the week was dedicated to each speaker.

“It was a great experience,” Sheriff Jenkins said.  “I think they learned a great deal about what law enforcement is — and what it is not.”

Jenkins said he especially enjoyed the give and take with the students.  “They are a very intelligent group of young men and women,” he said.

Besides the lineup of speakers, what makes the class unique is that it is part of the school systems’ dual enrollment program with Germanna Community College.  Students take the college level course while at high school, on the high school campus, but get college level credits at a fraction of the cost normally charged to college students.

The Criminal Justice Survey Course is worth six college credits.  It is one of several such courses now being offered in the Culpeper School System.

Thirteen students enrolled for the Criminal Justice dual enrollment course at Eastern View High School this fall.  Culpeper High School students are now signing up for the same course for the Spring Semester.

In January 2016 the school system sent out a survey to students seeking out what sort of dual enrollment course they would be most interested in taking.  Criminal Justice studies topped the list.  After that Rob Hauman, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for CCPS went to work to seek out the resources to implement the course sooner rather than later.  With the support of the School Board the new course was put together and funded for this year.

“Our students have enjoyed the opportunity and the array of speakers has sparked additional interest in law enforcement, criminal justice and our legal system,” Eastern View High School Principal E. G. Bradshaw said of the experience.

Growing trend

At this past summer’s graduation exercises it was noted that a total of 22 students graduated from the county’s two high schools with not only their high school diploma but an associate’s degree as well. Quite an accomplishment and it is hoped that the number of students electing to take on that extra work will grow. It’s all part of a partnership between Culpeper County’s high schools and Germanna Community College.

So, what is Dual Enrollment exactly?

Dual Enrollment (DE) at Germanna Community College, provides qualified high school students with the opportunity to complete college level courses while still attending high school.  Courses completed as a dual enrollment student appear on both the student’s high school, and Germanna transcripts.

Only fully credentialed college faculty, either full or part-time, teach dual enrollment courses for Germanna.  The four year colleges and universities of the Commonwealth generally accept the credits earned through dual enrollment. However, students are encouraged to check with the admissions office of schools to which they intend to transfer.

Germanna offers four pathways for Dual Enrollment: Dual Enrollment at the High Schools, Joint Enrollment, Early College, and Career Certificate Programs.

Benefits of Dual Enrollment

It is important for parents and students to understand that DE courses are challenging and require a significant amount of work.  The challenge and work required by DE courses at Germanna can provide important benefits though.  Studies show that students who acquire college credits while still in high school are more likely to continue their education beyond high school. Other benefits of dual enrollment at Germanna include:

  • An affordable, high quality education close to home.
  • Become familiar with college application and enrollment processes.
  • Taking classes from well qualified, college instructors.
  • Gain early exposure to the academic rigors of a college level course at your own high school.
  • Access to Germanna Community College student resources which can facilitate your academic success in college courses.
  • Earn college credit based on academic performance throughout the semester, instead of one test.
  • Achieving college credits that are transferable to all Virginia community colleges and most 4-year colleges and universities within the Commonwealth.

For more information on Germanna’s Dual Enrollment program, contact coordinator Tim Konhaus at 540-423-9126 or tkonhaus@germanna.edu