KU solidifies partnership with Lawrence High as concurrent enrollment options expand


Nola Levings

Chancellor Doug Girod (left) and district Superintendent Anthony Lewis (right) sign agreement

By Daniel Davidson, Online Editor in Chief

USD 497 administrators held an official partnership signing this morning for Jayhawk Blueprint, the concurrent enrollment program for Lawrence Public Schools.

The program, which allows students to receive high school and college credits for select courses, was limited to English and Math 101 prior to this year. With eight new courses available beginning this year, enrollment in the program has spiked from 150 to 316 students, according to Superintendent Anthony Lewis.

For even those who are unsure of their college plans, Lewis said concurrent enrollment can give students confidence leaving high school.

“It lets them know, ‘Hey, I can do this,’ ” Lewis said. “Whether they want to go to college or not, they know, ‘I can handle a KU college course. I can be successful.’ ”

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Giord said the program allows students to build skills for an early start in their college journey.

“Starting to educate the leaders of tomorrow comes before university,” Girod said.

One of the new courses available this fall is History 128, taught by Valerie Schrag. Schrag said adapting the class to students is a learning process.

“Students here know they are the first ones,” Schrag said. “Students have been very gracious with trying out all the brainstorms.”

For junior Reece Wolfhord, a History 128 enrollee, the financial aspect of the program played a large part in her decision to take the course, which costs $309.

“We’re getting thousands of dollars of education for hundreds of dollars,” Wolfhord said.

To ensure the concurrent enrollment courses are up to KU’s standard, teachers are required to have a master’s degree in their subject area. Having high standards for teacher credentials is important to ensure credits can be transferred to other universities.

According to Lewis and Girod, the potential for future dual credit courses depends upon what students need and the school can provide. Consulting counselors and faculty leadership helps determine this.

“The goal is only classes that would benefit students and knock out any prerequisites,” counselor Kelsey Buek said.

Biology and Spanish are two of those courses currently being discussed for future dual enrollment options, according to Buek.

For those that still find the cost a barrier, the Lawrence Schools Foundation plans to provide financial scholarships to students in need.

“This is a partnership that’s changing lives, and this is just the beginning,” interim principal Cynthia Johnson said. “There is much more to come.”