Power of 15: Earning college credit in high school

Jade Lewis, Staff Reporter

Elk Grove High School students have the chance to earn college credit in high school. Most students know about the Advanced Placement program. Many Elk Grove students get 3’s, 4’s or 5’s on their advanced placement exams, where students can get credit for taking engineering courses.

Another program students may not be aware of is Project Lead the Way.

Starting this year, students can get college credit for taking their math and English requirements. This program is called the Harper 15.

The Harper 15 program is an opportunity to get college credit in high school. The teachers are basically teaching year long versions of a semester course at Harper. The two classes that are offered are college algebra and literature.

“Elk Grove have been also asked to work on students analytical skills in reading fiction and nonfiction texts,” English teacher Chuck Cavazos said. “Harper professors also view this class as an introduction to what is expected in college level English courses.”

Here at EG, Harper has asked teachers to prepare students for writing research papers that they would be writing in subsequent classes. A student must have an ACT reading score of 22 to be eligible to enroll.

“Teaching college algebra is not much different from teaching other courses. The material is very similar to other high school courses, but the courses’ content is dictated by Harper College,” part-time EGHS teacher Christine Smith said.

The Power of 15 courses are an opportunity to earn college credit for free and without the pressure of an AP test. However, the student will take a Harper final exam at the end of the year.

It is also beneficial for students to get exposure to courses that are formatted differently than their typical Elk Grove courses. Currently, they are wrapping up prerequisite skills. The next unit will entail graphs of equations in two variables using intercepts and symmetry, equations of circles and properties of functions.

The instructors that are teaching the classes at all 214 schools have met several times with Harper faculty and administrators to discuss the new courses. The meetings have been positive and constructive. Both Harper and District 214 teachers are excited that the new courses will help students start Harper with a better chance of earning a degree.