As of January 15, 28 juniors and seniors at Independence High School will have a college transcript to add to their high school transcript when they mail their college applications. These students participated in an online course 1st semester known as iSchool. Twenty-nine students participated in 32 classes and earned at least one college credit through the University of North Carolina @ Greensboro.
Independence introduced the Dual Enrollment program in the Spring of 2009 when Cynthia Wellner, AVID Coordinator at Independence, learned of the opportunity and launched it by offering it to a small group of AVID students.
Wellner says, “I felt that AVID students would naturally be successful in the virtual environment because AVID focuses on college as early as middle school. Students are taught to think critically, encouraged to take lots of notes and are pushed to study subjects in depth – all in preparation for success in college. It helps that students also recognize that this opportunity translates to saving money by they time they matriculate-not to mention it shortens their path to college graduation. Independence senior Violetta Nikitin, will carry 6 credits to college next fall. When coupled with her AP Credits, Violetta will have more than enough credits to enter as a second semester Freshman.
Violetta says “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to experience college through a virtual setting. Not only has this opportunity given me a chance to save money by earning credit, but I have gained experience and effective study skills; tools that will allow me to excel in college.”
Next semester Wellner is adding another component to earning college credit by working through Pamilico Community College, in Grantsboro, NC.
“Pamlico has been very enthusiastic about opening up registration to our students. They already have a very agressive program with their local high school. Pamlico will provide us with additional opportunities we do not have with iSchool so we are very excited to be working with them.” says Wellner. “We are gingerly adding students outside the AVID Program to participate, now that we have some experience with what it takes to be successful.”
Says Nikitin, “Now that I know I can rise to the challenge of college level courses I feel more confident about my own abilities to succeed next year when I attend college. We are so lucky that we had this opportunity at Independence.”
(UNC iSchool has been funded by the North Carolina General Assembly through an initiative known as LEARN AND EARN (LEO). This initiative refers to all opportunities to earn high school/college credit through dual enrollment. The LEO program began in the 2007-08 school year.)