Dual Enrollment: A Step into the Future
A guiding question that’s at the forefront of every PHA educator’s mind, “how do I best prepare my students to succeed beyond the PHA classroom and community?”
The Power of Dual Enrollment
One solution to that question is the recent launch of a Dual Enrollment pilot program at PHA. Dual Enrollment (DE) allows our high school students to take college courses and earn high school and college credits at the same time. Students can earn between 12 and 24 college credits by the time they graduate high school allowing them to:
- Get a no-cost (to them) head start on their college education
- Build the confidence that a college degree is attainable in a timely fashion
- Explore potential majors and interests as they plan their career path
Research cited by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that DE significantly increases a student’s likelihood to enroll in and graduate from college, but also that participating students graduate high school at higher rates and with better grades.
Equitable Access to Dual Enrollment Benefits
However, while a majority of U.S. high schools now offer DE, research also shows that access to such programs is not equitable: “Dual enrollment is often less accessible at schools that serve larger proportions of low-income communities and communities of color.” This, combined with the post-pandemic decline in college enrollment at a time when the need for postsecondary credentials is greater than ever, predicts troubling futures for many historically underserved students.
At PHA, we are committed to ensuring that all our students graduate high school with a clearly articulated pathway to college and/or a career plan. The majority of our uniquely diverse students come from historically underserved backgrounds: 90% are people of color, 65% come from low-income families, and 50% do not speak English as a first language. While PHA’s small high school (fewer than 300 students) has long achieved a high college matriculation rate (95%), we have not been immune to the national trend of decreased interest in college enrollment.
Dual Enrollment Partnerships
Therefore, to ensure our students are set up to succeed on their path beyond PHA, we have launched DE partnerships with Bunker Hill Community College and Franklin Cummings Technical Institute, providing our students access to a wider range of college courses. Now in its pilot phase, 20 students are enrolled at these colleges for select courses of their interest and approved by the principal.
The Need for Dual Enrollment
"For some time now, our students have been interested in exploring subjects and higher level courses that are outside the PHA course catalog. A subgroup of our juniors and seniors are super excited to be able to take courses including Personal Finance, Intro to US Healthcare, Statistics, and Intro to Construction Management at Bunker Hill Community College and Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology. These opportunities allow our students to gain an amazing head start as they embark on their college and career journey."
- Chris Douglas, High School Principal