When Kayla Snyder steps onto the Ball State University campus next fall, she will have enough credits to almost be a college sophomore.
She takes dual-credit college classes at Brown County High School.
“It’s really economically beneficial, which I know my parents love. I love knowing that I won’t have that student debt on me,” Snyder said, taking a break in a hallway from her Ivy Tech Community College finite math class, taught by BCHS teacher Jake Koressel.
Along with finite math, she is taking Indiana University Advance College Project English and Spanish classes and an Ivy Tech biology class.
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“I feel like I am going to enter a lot more prepared, because I am handling a college workload this year,” Snyder said.
Brown County High School offers 11 dual-credit classes, including finite math, precalculus, calculus, Spanish, English and speech. Right now, it has teachers who are qualified according to state rules to teach nearly all of them.
But in October, the Higher Learning Commission issued new rules for high school teachers who teach dual-credit classes. They require a teacher to have a master’s degree in the field he or she will be teaching or have a master’s degree in an unrelated field and at least 18 hours in the subject area he or she teaches.
Out of all dual-credit teachers at BCHS, all but one, Koressel, have master’s degrees.
Previously, Indiana policy required teachers to have credentials consistent with those required of on-campus faculty or to have a “development plan” approved by the college for the course, such as attending training sessions.
The new requirement would not affect the teaching of Advanced Placement courses, like AP U.S. History or AP Environmental Science.
“I could be totally wrong, but I think it’s all about money,” said Brown County High School Principal Shane Killinger.
“If you think about it, kids are getting these credits, and they’re walking into IU or they’re walking into Ball State and turning in 20 hours. Think about the money they (the colleges) just didn’t get.”
Assistant Principal Angie Evans said offering dual-credit classes should help colleges and universities attract more students.
“Students who end up with a lot of credits from the university or college will have a better chance of going to that school full time,” Evans said. “The money, even though it’s a smaller fee that students pay for the tuition for those courses, they still get that.”
The Higher Learning Commission accredits colleges in 19 states including Indiana. The group originally was going to give all dual-credit teachers until September 2017 to either earn a master’s degree or 18 credit hours in the field they teach.
Now, a panel will review applications and consider extensions that stretch to September 2022, according to The Associated Press.
Effect on teachers
This is Koressel’s third year at Brown County High School. He teaches Ivy Tech precalculus and finite math for dual credit.This is his first year teaching finite. It used to be taught by Dave Langell, who retired at the end of the last school year.Koressel had shadowed him to be prepared to teach it. Koressel also had to meet Ivy Tech requirements, including attending training sessions. Teaching finite this year is considered an “internship” for Koressel, which he has to complete before being accredited to teach it next school year, Killinger said.
“We’ve done the steps they’ve asked us to do,” Killinger said.
Before the new dual-credit requirements were put in place, Koressel already had enrolled in a master’s program at IU in instructional systems technology.
But since his master’s degree will not be in math, it will not fulfill the new requirements to be able to teach finite and precalculus unless he takes 18 credit hours in a math master’s program.
“At this point, it looks like once that deadline comes, I just won’t be able to teach it anymore, because 18 hours in math is a lot while teaching full time,” Koressel said about the September 2017 deadline.
Since the Indiana Commission on Higher Education announced it would apply for an extension of that deadline, Killinger believes Koressel will be accredited to teach finite and precalculus by the time that date comes.
But if teachers currently teaching dual credit retire or move on, BCHS could still be affected in the future.
“I think that within that five-year window, they would figure out how to keep him (Koressel). He’s an IU graduate. He’s one of their kids,” Killinger said.
“Even as an undergrad I took a lot of math classes that were far above (finite and precalculus),” Koressel said. “I personally don’t feel like I need a math master’s degree to be a competent teacher in these particular courses.”
The same could be said for teachers who have years of experience in teaching dual-credit courses and do not have master’s degrees, Koressel said.
“I think that’s (the requirement) going to cause some problems, and I think it’s going to make the dual credits go down, really, because there’s going to be, I feel like, a decent number of teachers who aren’t going to be qualified anymore to teach those courses,” he said.
“There are people out there who have been teaching these courses for a really, really long time and I am sure are doing a great job. To all of a sudden be like, ‘Just kidding, you can’t actually do this anymore,’ it seems a little sudden, I think, and I think it took people by surprise.”
Senior Rachel Smith wants to go to IU next fall and earn a degree in diagnostic imaging and minor in Spanish. This school year she is taking an Ivy Tech English class, precalculus and Koressel’s finite class to earn dual credit.She also took dual-credit classes her junior year.“It’s more beneficial than the high school classes because it’s a faster pace, and the teachers don’t really help you as much. So it’s kind of like a thing where you’re kind of more on your own,” Smith said.
Snyder wants to work with people. She is considering majoring in communications, but she’s not sure yet. Her dual-credit classes will allow her “more room to explore the majors up at Ball State” without so much of a financial burden, she said.
Junior Brittany Miller was planning to graduate a semester early but decided to stay so she could take the dual-credit engineering class offered through Project Lead the Way.
This year she is taking finite, precalculus and Principles of Engineering. After serving in the Air Force, she wants to become an aerospace engineer.
“Once I go to college, I’ll already have it under my belt, so it’s a couple of classes less to take and it’ll be a lot easier,” she said.
Sophomore Abe Oliver hopes to attend Stanford University to study computer science and math. He wants to be a computer programmer for Google.
He also notices a difference between high school and dual-credit classes.
“The stakes are a lot higher, because the grade often goes on your permanent record for all of college, which is kind of scary, but also the workload and the course difficulties,” he said.
The amount of college and career readiness courses offered also affects the high school’s letter grade from the state, Killinger said. College and career readiness courses — which include dual-credit and AP classes — make up 30 percent of the school’s score.
“It’s a win-win when our kids take those classes,” he said.
“It’s more beneficial than the high school classes because it’s a faster pace and the teachers don’t really help you as much. So it’s kind of like a thing where you’re kind of more on your own.”
Senior Rachel Smith
“I am thinking about majoring in communications or something along the lines involving people, but I am not exactly sure what I want to do with it. … That’s actually why I am taking dual-credit classes because I am kind of undecided and up in the air. It would give me a lot more wiggle room to take classes and explore and not have to really worry about taking just the core classes.”
Senior Kayla Snyder
“It’s a lot cheaper. It’s a lot more helpful because I kind of get a feeling of what college courses are going to be like pace wise and homework wise.”
Junior Brittany Miller
“I think it’s a great thing for college apps. It saves me money in the long run because I have to pay for these courses when I am actually at college and they cost a lot more money. Also, just the ability to get ready for the workload that will be expected in college and start practicing that when I don’t have to take care of myself and it’s still in a controlled environment to learn all of those skills.”
Sophomore Abe Oliver
“It’s a great way to get college credit out of the way early, and I can test further into classes whenever I do go to college. Dual-credit classes have a lot more restrictions in attendance and grades because you have to work at a college level.”
Senior Eli White
Students can take dual-credit classes as a way to earn college credit as early as 10th grade.
Eleven dual-credit classes offered at Brown County High School through Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University.
Students take the classes during the school day.
They must earn at least a C before qualifying to test out of courses, like finite math or Spanish, in college.
Earning a certain GPA can also qualify a student for college credit in classes like advanced speech.
Some classes also require a student to take a placement test to earn college credit.
There is no charge to take Ivy Tech dual-credit classes at the high school.
Dual-credit Indiana University classes cost $25 per credit hour. One semester of IU W131 English class equals three credit hours at IU and costs $75, BCHS guidance counselor Katherine Janowski said.
213: Total enrollment in dual-credit classes at Brown County High School. (Students might be taking more than one class.)
11: Dual-credit courses offered throughout the school year.
$25: Cost per credit hour to take an Indiana University dual-credit class.
1 semester at the high school equals 3 credit hours in college.
$0 for Ivy Tech dual credit courses.
6 teachers teach dual-credit classes.