Students at Bellefonte Area High School have another option next school year that could give them college credit before entering college.
It’s similar curriculum to Advanced Placement classes but with a twist.
And it comes with the mission to help prepare students for the next phase of their education, while saving them money in the meantime.
The district will launch “College in the Classroom” when school starts Aug. 29.
It’s a program through the University of Pittsburgh that certifies district teachers to teach college-level courses, and it allows participating students to earn college credit through Pitt.
Bellefonte Principal Jen Brown said the teachers aren’t necessarily formal members of the Pitt faculty, but they are approved for the program by the university.
High school history teacher Christine Morris said Pitt requires all College in the Classroom teachers to attend an initial introductory session and an annual meeting on campus with a faculty liaison, which was completed last month.
In the fall, she will be teaching two College in the Classroom courses: psychology and Western civilization, which Morris said are compatible with AP coursework.
Her motivation for participating is multifold — communicating and working with Pitt faculty and learning from them in a way she hopes will help her bring knowledge and experience into the classroom.
“I really like the idea of having kids take on the challenge of taking a college level course in high school,” Morris said. “They will be learning skills — time management, writing — that will help them be successful.”
Students are also expected to treat the courses like they’re in college.
“It’s run just like a college class at the university,” Brown said. “As long as they pass the class up to UPitt standards, they can get the credit.”
Pitt requires students to at least get a grade of C or higher to obtain credit.
“I got a packet about this program sometime, I think, in March, and they pitched the program to us and it’s something I thought we had to do,” Brown said.
Pending approval by the school board next month, it will cost the district $1,599.40 to purchase textbooks specific to at least one class through the program, Superintendent Michelle Saylor said.
Brown, teachers and other administrators held an information session June 6 for parents with students at the high school.
She estimated 30 to 50 students would enroll in College in the Classroom courses next school year.
“That’s a little bit high of an estimate, but we’re seeing a lot of interest and generating information to help kids get involved in these kinds of classes if they’re interested,” Brown said. “It’s a good opportunity to help parents and kids with college costs, and allows them to get experience with rigor for college.”
Cost of a course
Bellefonte Area High School will offer six “College in the Classroom” classes next year.
Three-credit courses cost $235 per class through the program.
The chemistry class will cost $310 because it’s a four-credit course, high school Principal Jen Brown said.
For the University of Pittsburgh in the 2015-16 year, the cost per credit for undergraduate residents of Pennsylvania was $720, plus $214 in fees, according to Pitt’s tuition and financial aid website.
For out-of-state residents, it costs $1,169 per credit in addition to $214 in miscellaneous fees.
Brown added that Pitt will give assistance to eligible students in need. The university will waive the application fee for students who take College in the Classroom classes and apply to Pitt.
College in the Classroom courses
▪ General Chemistry: CHEM 0100
▪ Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1: MATH 0220
▪ Western Civilization II: HIST 0101
▪ Introduction to Psychology: PSY 0010
▪ American Politics: PS 0200
▪ Right Start to College:ARTSC 0111