When turning back and taking a peak at recent history, Frenship ISD and Angelo State University can only look in their scrapbook documenting their relationship during the past twelve months and smile.
In February 2015, FISD and ASU agreed to join forces in the Presidential Scholars Dual Credit Program, a program which provides dual-credit opportunities at no cost to students, parents, or the school district. All Frenship High School sophomores, juniors and seniors can enroll in a dual-credit course offered by ASU and simultaneously earn college and high school credit for the same course.
One year later, the statistics of academic success radiate nothing but achievement.
In just two semesters – the completed semester of the fall of 2015 and the current spring 2016 semester – 1,088 FHS students have enrolled in one or more ASU dual credit courses, and by the end of the spring semester they will had earned a cumulative total 5,618 hours of college credit.
“I have been very impressed with ASU’s commitment to the program and to our students,” adds Bonnie Thompson, College Readiness Coordinator at FHS. “ASU’s faculty and staff have worked with us on everything from making the student registration process seamless to being a resource for our teachers in making sure their classes are aligned and have the same tools as the classes on ASU’s campus.”
“The atmosphere at FHS is one of academic success,” says Gail Smith, FISD Science Coordinator who oversees Advanced Academics for the district. “Many students are taking advantage of the ASU dual-credit opportunity to have tuition covered through this scholarship. Both the dual credit and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in which students test to determine if college credit can be earned continue to grow.”
Add to the strong academic numbers the ASU dual-credit program has provided a cost savings for Frenship families in tuition totaling more than $470,000. The tuition-free dual-credit courses provide FHS students who may think there is no opportunity to begin a pathway to higher education because of costs a chance to begin that very journey.
“The dual credit partnership between Angelo State and Frenship ISD is a huge success,” says Dr. Javier Flores, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Angelo State. “ASU awarded over $474,661 in dual credit scholarships to FHS dual credit students. We also provided FISD a reimbursement check of $68,500 for instructional services in the fall 2015 semester.”
Also through the program, FHS students are guaranteed admission to ASU by meeting certain requirements: graduate in the top 10 percent of the class, score a 17 on the ACT and are in the top half of their class, or complete six dual credit hours through ASU with a 3.0 or better average.
Currently, FISD and ASU offer 67 course hours to FHS students, but because of the initial success in year one, the two entities are planning to offer 103 hours for the 2016-17 school year.
“The dual credit program will continue to grow as more teachers are available to teach these courses,” Smith added. “Teachers are going back to school to attain their Master’s degree and hours within the content area needed to teach dual credit courses. As they earn their credentials, we are able to offer more courses to students. With more course offerings, students can’t help but win as we continue our partnership with Angelo State University.”
“I hope more students who may not have taken dual credit in the past because of the cost will choose to take a dual credit course,” Thompson added. “This is a great opportunity for students to try a college level course and still have the support structure of being in high school. Whatever the path a student takes, the program is a great benefit for students and parents saving for college.”