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By Yelena Serrato /The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYDADA—Although the learning circumstances of this school year were quite different, FCISD students still managed to take advantage of the opportunity to earn college credits at no cost.
According to Floydada school officials, 144 students ninth-twelfth grade enrolled in dual credit courses through South Plains College. A total of 128 students successfully completed their courses and earned college credit, offering an 89% overall pass-rate. This completed FCISD’s first year as a collegiate school district.
Floydada CISD Superintendent Dr. Gilbert Trevino stated that 27 of the 41 enrolled ninth graders passed their college courses for a 66% success rate. All 31 10th graders enrolled passed their courses for an astonishing 100% success rate. Of the 35 enrolled 11th grade students, 33 passed their college courses resulting in a 94% passing rate. As for 12th grade, 37 of 37 students passed their college courses for another 100% overall rating. A grade of A-D is considered passing.
Like many success stories, FCISD did face a few challenges this semester according to Dr. Trevino. “The greatest challenge was finding ways to offer academic support to ninth and 10th graders. College courses require students to be self-sufficient, self-disciplined and to manage their time wisely. This is especially difficult for ninth graders where they had to balance becoming a “high school” student as well as becoming a “college” student with everything else that many of our students are involved in (i.e. extra-curricular activities).”
FCISD hopes to make a few accommodations in the coming school year to ensure a successful outcome for students. “The biggest change will be to offer more on-campus academic support to all of our students. We will be much more proactive in ensuring students are successful. The courses they take now will go with them if they enroll in college after high school, so we want to ensure their GPA is held to a high standard and they leave our school system prepared for life beyond high school,” said Dr. Trevino.
Dr. Trevino also plans to partner with more universities in the future outside of South Plains College. “We have already begun having discussions with West Texas A&M University to offer a baccalaureate degree pathway to our students beyond high school. In this model, students would not have to leave our community upon graduating from high school and could take courses here in Floydada that would ultimately result in earning a 4-year degree. We also already partner with Texas Tech University through the Tech Teach program where students are fast-tracked toward a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate. Once we get to the point where a Floydada Collegiate High School student earns an associate degree, they could enter the Tech Teach program and earn their bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in one year. We could potentially have 19 or 20-year-old students become teachers for us,” said Dr. Trevino excitingly.
The learning outcomes for FCHS students who choose to enroll in dual credit courses are many. However, Dr. Trevino believes the best learning outcome for students who have elected to take college courses through FCISD is the content they learn in those courses.”
“However, I believe the most beneficial thing to come from our program is that many of our students are now college students. There are many benefits that come from becoming a college student while in high school. Students learn to manage their time well and learn a lot more responsibility. In addition, they can save thousands of dollars by taking college courses while in our high school. This is a game changer for students, parents and our community. For those of us who had to pay for our own college education, we know the true value of what we are able to offer our students by becoming a collegiate district and allowing them to take free college courses,” he said.
The opportunities that are being created within our community are ones to take full advantage of because the most rewarding thing in life is learning; life never stops teaching us new things.