Ingenuity Charter School Students Get Ahead By Taking College Classes

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Ingenuity charter school students in a classroom
Ingenuity Charter School students visit community colleges to learn about courses and programs offered for concurrent enrollment.

By Sarah Beauchemin

Years ago, high school and college were two separate spaces. Students first graduated from high school and then took general education courses at a four-year community college or university.

But that has changed. San Diego is one of many cities in the United States where high school students can concurrently enroll in community college courses.

Ingenuity Charter School – San Diego’s leading blended learning institution, which opened in 2015 – recognizes the significant academic and social benefits of concurrent enrollment and has made it one of their top priorities for students.

“Concurrent enrollment is especially critical for our students at Ingenuity, as many are the first generation in their families to attend college,” said Nicole Huerta, Blended Learning Instructor at Ingenuity.

“Simultaneous enrollment also allows our students to ‘test out’ college with the safety net of still being in high school and having faculty and staff from both institutions to lean on,” he said. -she adds. “Students can learn how to manage their time in school and establish a routine – all of which are necessary for success in college.”

Introduce students to campus life

Ingenuity Charter School students visit San Diego City College

To make students aware of all the opportunities offered by concurrent enrollment, Ingenuity Charter School has organized in-depth tours of regional college campuses for the 2018-19 academic year.

Instructors interview students about their post-secondary and career interests, then they select the community colleges and CSUs that best match those interests and arrange tours. This year, those schools are Chula Vista Adult Ed, City College, Southwestern College, and San Diego State University.

“Campus tours are typically conducted by current students or alumni, so our students get an authentic introduction to their peers,” said Steven Shilling, Ingenuity Instructor and School Counselor.

Students are encouraged to ask their tour guides honest questions to get a good sense of what university and campus life is really like – something they can only truly understand on first-time tours. hand on campus.

“We want them to see not only how accessible college is for them, but we also want them to see how there are many resources available to help them attend,” Huerta said. “The goal is to show students that they are capable of going to college and achieving their goals – especially if they are the first in their family to do so.”

The benefits of concurrent registration

Concurrent enrollment of high school students at local community colleges has been available for some time in San Diego. However, Ingenuity instructors have recently learned more about how concurrent enrollment has a lasting and positive impact on students – which is why staff have started pushing their students to participate.

“Research shows that high school students who concurrently enroll in college courses are significantly more likely to complete community college and/or earn a college degree,” Huerta said.

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Since most Ingenuity students come from underserved communities and have already faced significant challenges in their young lives, any opportunity that helps increase their chances of completing college is taken very seriously.

“We decided to make it a point to involve our students more in the program,” Shilling said. “Every teacher at our school talks to students about the possibility of enrolling in college classes.”

The incentives to sign up are plentiful, Shilling notes. For one thing, tuition is free for high school students. Besides minimal supply costs for some classes, students don’t have to worry about paying anything. They also receive high school and college credits for their class, and community college classes have the same GPA weight as high school AP classes.

Ingenuity students who concurrently enrolled in college courses agree that they have found it very beneficial. One such person is Jared Pedron, who is concurrently enrolled at City College. Concurrent enrollment eased Jared’s anxiety about college and boosted his self-confidence.

“One of the biggest benefits I can see coming from concurrent enrollment is being able to advance through college courses while also being allowed to complete the later ‘sparse’ parts of high school,” he said. “I also don’t have to worry about redoing the paperwork to try for the first time next year after I graduate from Ingenuity. The other benefit is that I can see how the system works college and that I have time to make the transition rather than jumping straight into it.

Overall, Ingenuity instructors believe that the Concurrent Enrollment Program will add tremendous value to their students’ lives, both personally and professionally.

“I think concurrent enrollment will cultivate more inspired, educated, and well-rounded students,” Huerta said. “Students will graduate ingenuity with a clear plan in place and feel confident in continuing their education. These students will also serve as role models for our younger students, setting them good examples and encouraging them to think about their post-secondary goals early on. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these children.

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