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Read how students, staff and communities are learning, pursuing goals, exploring passions, and achieving City Schools' Blueprint for Success. 
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More Students Are Earning College Credits While Still in High School

City Schools’ Dual Enrollment Program Partners with Local Universities for College-Level Learning in High School

Understanding what college is like — and getting ready for it — is a big deal. How is going to class in college different from high school? What classes are best to work towards a career goal? How can college be more affordable?
 
This year, more than 1,000 City Schools’ high school students are finding the answers to these questions by taking college courses, thanks to City Schools’ Dual Enrollment Program. The program, created in 2013, has nearly tripled in size this past year; 350 students participated last year - many of whom will be first generation college students. 
 
For example, 54 Western High School seniors are earning college credit while pursuing their high school diploma free of charge. By taking classes like Probability and Statistics, Writing, and Entrepreneurship, they’re exploring the directions they’d like to take once they graduate high school.
 
And they’re doing it for free! 
 
For Western High School senior Sierra Brown-English, the experience has helped her zero in on her post-graduation goal: going to school for psychology. Says Sierra, “I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of Dual Enrollment. The harder coursework has helped me improve with time management and reduce my procrastination. And taking psych 101 through the program has solidified my interest in psych as a major. The class gave me a broader view on psych as a whole. It has really helped a lot."
 
City Schools partners with University of Baltimore and Baltimore City Community College so that City Schools high school students can earn tuition-free college credits that can be transferred to any higher education institution and are recorded on high school transcripts. In many cases, Dual Enrollment positions City Schools students to enter college as second semester freshmen. Through expanded district funding, the Dual Enrollment Program covers the cost of all books and tuition for students. Partner colleges provide tutors who sit in on courses to answer questions and support student learning. 
    
Since many City Schools graduates are first generation college students, the program’s impact is huge, both experientially and financially. “Dual enrollment is a safe way to experience college coursework in high school with the structures and support of high school staff members,” said Mavis Jackson, Director of College Readiness. “One semester of college could easily cost a family more than $15,000. Thanks to Dual Enrollment, City Schools students can dip their toe into college level learning free of charge - exploring their interests and getting a head start on their futures.”
 
One third of City Schools high schools offer a robust Dual Enrollment Program, but any student, no matter their school, can take advantage of the program by working with their school counselor. Students are also encouraged to pursue Dual Enrollment learning over the summer. 
 
Going forward, City Schools will provide even more guidance to students embarking on their college experience early. In a soon-to-be-offered mini-course, students will be coached on how to navigate the college experience, including tips on engaging with professors and reviewing syllabi. 
 
Sierra and many other students find the Dual Enrollment experience to be worth the commitment. "I would encourage students to go for Dual Enrollment. It sounds scary at first, but once you get into it, it's really, really helpful." 
 
To learn more about the Dual Enrollment Program, visit https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/high-school

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