Case HS Students Earn UWP Credit
When 28 Case High School students successfully completed an American government course in January, they did more than take an important step toward high school graduation – they also earned three credits from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
The students were part of a new concurrent-enrollment course between a Racine Unified School District (RUSD) high school and UW-Parkside. Parkside Access to College Credits (PACC) allows high school students to take university-level classes at their high school taught by qualified instructors to simultaneously earn both high school and transcripted university credit. In this case, students completed their high school requirement for government and received three credits from UW-Parkside. The Parkside credits will be accepted at many institutions of higher education throughout the U.S.
PACC is a low-cost, scalable model that brings accelerated coursework to students in their high school rather than requiring students to travel to the college or university.
PACC courses are different than some other programs that enable high school students to earn university credit by requiring a single exam at the end of the course. PACC courses are university-level courses, approved by UW-Parkside, where students are graded upon successful completion of the course through multiple assessments during the semester.
Many students may be less certain about a college career or may question their ability to succeed at a college or university. PACC classes give high school students the experience of completing a college course taught by a familiar teacher in their high school.
Dr. Peggy James, dean of the UW-Parkside College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies, said PACC helps meet the growing call to reduce the time it takes to earn a university degree. By reducing the time to degree, PACC helps reduce the overall cost of a degree by offering courses at less than one-third of the regular per-credit college or university tuition.
Dr. Christopher Thompson, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Racine Unified School District, worked with Case High School government teacher Jeanne Schierstadt to implement the program. UW-Parkside Professor of American Politics Michael Hansen collaborated with Schierstadt to ensure the course was identical to that taught at Parkside. Hansen visited Case High School and provided a guest lecture to students, and in December the students came to Parkside to sit in on their "sister" course, visit the library, and get a feel for campus – since they are concurrently enrolled, they are considered Parkside students.
In fall 2017, the partnership between RUSD and Parkside will expand to include chemistry at Park High School. Walden III is scheduled to join the partnership in 2018. PACC is also exploring opportunities with other schools in the region.