Special to the Journal
Through partnerships with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Temple College, the Texas Bioscience Institute and the University of Texas-Permian Basin, Belton ISD juniors and seniors can take classes that allow them to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. More than 200 students are enrolled in the “dual credit” courses this year.
To be eligible to enroll, a student must be in either the junior or senior year of high school. He or she must also complete an application to the college or university and receive a score on the SAT, ACT or Texas Success Initiative that exceeds minimums set by the institution of higher education.
In the last five years, the number of Belton ISD students enrolled in dual credit courses has grown from 125 during the 2010-2011 school year to 222 in 2014-2015. This year, high school juniors and seniors could earn up to 1,995 college credits.
“Our mission is to provide an education that challenges all of our students to excel. Through these partnerships, we’re giving students the opportunity to get a jump start on their college education while completing their high school coursework,” said Randy Pittenger, board president.
For students taking dual credit classes through the Texas Bioscience Institute, it’s possible to earn an associate’s degree while completing the requirements for their high school diploma.
The institute expands Belton ISD’s partnership with Temple College to include collaboration with Scott and White Healthcare, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System and others on a foundational education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It also emphasizes learning through hands-on activities and real-world projects.
This year, three Belton ISD seniors are expected to earn associate’s degrees through the institute.
“Local employers tell us that they need a workforce that’s prepared for the bioscience and medical professions. Regardless of their individual paths after graduation, our students who earn an associate’s degree through the bioscience institute will be positioned for future success,” said Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent.