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Students at Bear Lake High School have the opportunity of taking college classes along with their regular classes. The Department of Education (DOE) sets aside $4,125 for each student to pursue dual credit or other advanced opportunities, which amounts to $65 to $75 per credit. There are 43 credits available, and if a student takes them all, it amounts to a year and a half of college, which is huge. When a student enrolls in a class, the DOE then transfers the money to cover it.

There are 14 classes available in five different categories, which include four English, four Mathematics, two Science, and three Social Science classes, as well as one Computer class. Each class is worth three credits, with the exception of the Biology class (Science), which is worth four credits. The English, History, and Computer classes each take one trimester, while the Mathematics, Science, and one Social Science class each take two trimesters.

The classes are taught by six faculty members at Bear Lake High school who either have master’s degrees or have been awarded professorships to teach at a college level. Those faculty members are Tammy Stephens (English), Tabitha Bissegger (English), Jared Hillier (History/Government), Danielle Culver (Science), and Rich Kearl (Computers).

If a student fails a dual credit class using the funds provided by the DOE, they must pay for a “like” class of similar value in order to continue using the advanced opportunity funds.

According to Cameron Crane, Counselor at Bear Lake High School, about 70 percent of sophomores, juniors, and seniors take advantage of this opportunity. However, quite a few will just take one dual credit English, Math, or Government class because they are busy in sports, church, or farming activities and don’t have the time to commit to more classes and finish them. It’s a life balance issue and depends on how much time they have to allocate to the classes.

According to Mr. Crane, there are students who do take every class offered and receive all 43 dual credits available. They are definitely to be commended.

This is a great opportunity for students at the high school, and one that is completely paid for by the Department of Education. If they can possibly take advantage of the dual credit classes, they are way ahead when they get into college. It takes care of the majority of the core credit classes required during those initial college years, and it offers quite an advantage to college students as they are paying class tuition and the cost of books.

Some other classes offered through the advanced opportunities are a Driver’s Education class and a CNA class. An Idaho Learning Center (IDLA) dual-credit course is also offered, and there is also a non dual-credit IDLA Course available.

All of these classes are definitely something for students and parents alike to look at and take seriously. They offer great opportunity and potential.

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