The numbers are in and we couldn’t be more excited! Gary’s 21st Century Charter School students earned more than 700 real college credits in real college classrooms last year. That’s twice the number of college credits earned by our students in 2015-16. Our high school students took more than 40 different classes on the campuses of Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University NW last year, including Spanish, French, Advanced English, Advanced Math, Psychology, Biology, Advanced Computer Information Systems, Speech, Fine Arts, Welding, and many other classes.
We celebrate this for many reasons. First, we celebrate because it is a very tangible example of our school’s commitment to making sure our students have access to college while in our high school. We don’t limit our efforts to talking about the importance of college, we actually put our students in real college classes. At 21st Century, we believe experiencing a college campus while in high school is just as important as gaining the knowledge in the classroom itself. The college campus experience helps take away the mystique of what a college campus feels like and looks like, and our students gain a great deal of self confidence. This translates into students continuing and to completing college after they graduate from our high school.
Our school spent more than $156,000 last year to support this effort. We did not ask for, nor receive any special discounts from our college partners. We also covered our student costs for college textbooks and transportation to the college campuses. In addition, we scheduled our school year and school days to match the college schedules to prevent students from missing valuable high school and college class time. In short, we are doing everything we can to make sure our students not only earn their high school diploma, but that they also earn real college credits and confidence to complete college after they graduate from our school.
Considering the opportunities our students received at the college level, we believe this $156,000 was well spent. Had we taken it upon ourselves to hire 40 different teachers to teach the 40 different classes our students experienced, and had we spent the dollars necessary to house these classes ourselves, we would have had to spend millions more. As it is, we took full advantage of existing highly qualified resources in our community, met the specific individual needs and interests of our students, did not replicate existing services, and our students gained valuable college experience and many college credits that are fully transferable to four-year universities anywhere in the state.
We believe we are creating the Next Generation High School. We are proud to be doing this work in Gary, Indiana and are eager to get started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this year.
If you would like to learn more, please check out this short video. And if you would like to join us in our efforts, please let us hear from you.
Let’s keep changing the world together!