Ten New College Classes Added to Course List by 2019

By Callia Peterson, Staff Writer

Students interested in earning dual credit their junior or senior year will have more opportunities than ever before.

In addition to the Math 101 and English 101 classes currently offered in the USD 497 school district, 10 new classes will be available to Lawrence High and Free State students as of fall 2019.

These dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit from KU before graduating from high school. Students who opted to take the only dual credit courses offered currently rave about the opportunity.

“You get a student discount, and you get it out of the way so you can do more enjoyable classes or graduate earlier possibly,” senior and current Math 101 and English 101 student Sydney Hawley said. “Also, you’re in a class with people who you already know and you’re comfortable with, and you’re not afraid to go to the teacher and ask for help.”

Senior Allie Perkins, also a Math 101 and English 101 student, wanted to take the two classes early as well.

“You can get a basic class out of the way,” Perkins said. “Especially for Math 101, a lot of people end up failing that class because it’s the easiest class they can take, and they don’t want to do it. So I’m glad I’m getting it out of the way now.”

The first-year director of curriculum for USD 497, Jennifer Bessolo, is excited about the possibilities for these classes too. Discussions about these classes have been in the works for a while, but this year the partnership with KU really took off.

“We’re looking at the idea of trying to get our kids the most competitive edge possible and lots of options and opportunities,” Bessolo said.

These classes will give students the chance to get a college course out of the way for only a third of the cost.

The new dual credit classes include:

  • In addition to English 101 (Composition), that is only one semester, students will get a chance to take English 102 (Critical Reading and Writing) following English 101.
  • Another math class will also be available in addition to Math 101 (College Algebra), called Math 365 (Elementary Statistics).
  • Three new social studies classes will be available. First, HIST 128: History of the United States before the Civil War. Second is a continuation of HIST 128, HIST 129. Last of the new social studies classes is Introduction to the U.S. Politics, POLS 110,  that gives students an introduction to basic American governmental institutions, political processes, and policy.
  • A new psychology class, PSYC 104 (General Psychology), gives an introduction to the science of psychology.
  • An anthology class, ANTH 160 (The Varieties of Human Experience) is another introductory class that teaches the basic concepts and themes in cultural anthropology by means of the study of cultures from around the world.
  • A communication class, COMS 130 (Speaker-Audience Communication), is a study of public speaking and the current ethical conditions related to this topic. The communication fulfills the College Argument and Reason requirement.
  • A science class, BIOL 100 (Principles of Biology) is a college course that goes over the basic concepts of biology and is intended for non-science majors.
  • Finally, three Spanish classes for students who would like to improve their spanish more rapidly or just fulfill their college language requirement: SPAN 107 (Elementary Spanish Conversation), SPAN 220 (Intensive Intermediate Spanish), and SPAN 329 (Intermediate Spanish Conversation II).

Unlike AP classes, for the dual credit courses, students don’t have to take a test to determine if they get the credit. The grade they get in the course is the grade that goes on both transcripts. However, the district is not trying to take away from the benefits of AP classes. Instead, enrollment will control how many classes of each will be offered.

However, the district wants to avoid making these classes the No. 1 priority at the high schools. To avoid having a class of just six students at one school, which might affect how many students that teacher has in another class, the district is looking into offering these classes at another location, such as KU or the College and Career Center, and possibly over the summer.

Patrick Kelly, director of career and technical education at the College and Career Center, recommends taking college courses as a high school student whether that is through the high schools or the College and Career Center. The CCC is known for hands-on classes that give students job experience and potentially college credit.

“The best way to see what we do at the College and Career Center,” Kelly said, “is to come see it in action.”

However, if students don’t think it is the right time for them to take the class, Melissa Johnson, teacher of English 101, thinks that is fine.

“While I do think it’s great for kids who want to do this, I think it’s OK for kids who

don’t, because I think it’s OK to start college when you’re in college,” Johnson said.

Perkins has a warning for students interested in these classes.

“Take it and take it seriously,” she said. “Because although it’s still a high school class, the grade you get in the class is the grade you’ll have on your transcript at the university.”