FREEPORT (WIFR) – A local school district is taking the next step to prepare students for the real world while they’re still teenagers. Students now have the option to leave high school early with a diploma and a degree.
Upperclassmen at Freeport High School are getting guidance with life after nigh school, but some juniors and seniors their age are already in college. Weronika Kaczmarczyk is 17-year-old and already in her second year at Highland Community College.
“It’s definitely a more challenging class load than you would have at a high school,” Weronika said.
It’s part of the College Now Program , a partnership between Highland and local school districts.
“High achieving students will be able to get their high school diploma and their associate degree at the same time after two years of dual credit work at the college,” said Liz Gerber, Chief Student Services Officer at HCC.
Freeport High School is looking to join that partnership.
“A number of other high schools have started to participate in and I guess it’s Freeport’s turn to really start looking at some of the opportunities for our students who are college read by the time they’re a junior in high school.”
“I feel like I’m getting an edge by doing the program.”
An edge that 27 other Stateline students have, earning dual credit at Highland Community College.
Qualifying sophomores will be able to apply for College Now this year, but there are some requirements like certain course work. They also had to have had a 3.0 grade point average by the end of their freshman year. They have to get a certain score on the Highland placement exam and there will be an interview at Freeport High to see if they’re socially ready for college. Also the high school will help pay for tuition and it looks like the school board will approve the plan.
Pecatonica, Durand, Dakota, and Pearl City High Schools all participate in College Now at Highland. Rock Valley College started a similar program first, called “Running Start”. 22 students in District 205 currently attend RVC.