School, college begin new dual enrollment effort
by JONATHAN GRASS
Oct 05, 2009 | 2225 views |  2 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students in Barbara Lawler’s advanced English and communications class work hard to get credit for their college English 101 classes before they even leave Talladega High School.
Students in Barbara Lawler’s advanced English and communications class work hard to get credit for their college English 101 classes before they even leave Talladega High School.
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TALLADEGA — An old partnership has been given new life, and that life will be put to use in giving high school students a leg up in their first years of college.

Talladega High School and Talladega College Jump Start is a dual enrollment program between the two learning institutes. It will allow THS students to take college-level introductory courses in their high school classrooms. The credit for these classes will be valid for students entering Talladega College, as well as being transferable to numerous other colleges and universities.

“Young adults will be able to get the benefit of experiencing higher education while completing high school,” said Talladega College President Billy Hawkins.

Besides the actual college credit, the program is meant to bring particular benefits to the participating students.

One is that they get an opportunity to go through the college admissions process early and with staff support. THS Principal Darren Anglin said this can be one of the more arduous and nerve-wracking tasks in starting a college career, and it’s more comfortable to have familiar teachers guiding one through it.

Anglin said this benefit combined with that of completing college-level classes so early will give the students more confidence to go out into the world.

Another intention is to show students firsthand what college coursework is like, only in a more controlled environment.

He added the program also opens up additional scholarship possibilities for the students and makes private institutions like Talladega College more affordable to them.

“This is a win/win situation for the high school and the college. Most of all, it better prepares students for their first years,” said Christopher Jeffries, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Talladega College.

Talladega City Schools Interim Superintendent Douglas Campbell said T & T Jump Start has his full support.

“The community has asked for this service, and we have the talents and the faculty to help implement this preview of college life,” he said.

The program has started this semester and will benefit selected juniors and seniors at THS with an advanced English class that will translate to credit for a college English 101 class. Students who complete this class and are eligible will be able to take an English 102 equivalent next semester.

Administrators intend on expanding the program. An advanced history class will be available for college credit next semester as well as English. They are hopeful to add a math class to the lineup.

T & T Jump Start’s English class is taught by Barbara Lawler. Her experience in teaching simultaneously at THS in addition to Talladega College and Gadsden State Community College has only aided her ability to implement upper level curriculums to younger students.

“It puts me in a good position. I know what to prepare them for,” she said.

The participants had to show they had the academic capacity for college work before being admitted as part of the startup program. In order to qualify for T & T Jump Start, students had to go through a particular summer reading list and then pass a testing and screening process.

Students’ grade point averages and diploma tracks were also taken into account.

This is not the first time THS and Talladega College have had a dual enrollment program. A similar program called Early Entrant was in place with the schools over 20 years ago. After this attempt, the high school began advanced placement English classes sponsored by the College Board, an organization dedicated to promoting student successfulness in college.

“We’ve always had the curriculum in place. Now they can get some college credit for doing the work we’ve already had them doing,” Lawler said.

Fifteen students are registered for this semester’s reinstatement of dual enrollment, and the idea of getting college credit early was a big hit with those participating in the program.

“It allows us to get a step ahead in college and should be taken advantage of,” said THS student Lee Scarbrough.

Another student, Rebekah Campbell, praised the idea of taking an introductory class in a high school setting where the classes are smaller.

When asked about their future intentions, every student in the class expressed a desire to continue his or her education after high school. The desired colleges ranged all over the state and beyond.

“Some go to college at home or go to work first, but every one here is determined to make it to college, and they can,” Lawler said.