• 81°

Bazzell: Time for dual enrollment to be considered in school rankings

With 42 percent of Pike County Schools seniors graduating with dual enrollment credit, superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell said it’s time to judge schools by the criterion.

“It is time for dual enrollment credit hours earned to be factored in the various high school ranking criteria,” Bazzell said. “Currently it is not considered and we plan to work on getting this changed going forward. AP is considered in the criteria and is a great program. However, for our system and others like ours, it does not make sense financially. The last time we did the math, we can graduate around four students with an associate degree for the cost of one AP teacher for one year, and we can do all this at no cost to the students or parents. This gives the kids a jump start without the accumulation of any student loan debt for the first two years of college.“

Of the 150 graduates at GHS and PCHS this year, 63 earned dual enrollment credit. The students amassed 2,422 Academy dual enrollment hours and 164 Career Technical dual enrollment hours for a total of 2,586 hours. The average number of dual enrollment credit per senior will be 41.

“If you look at the 2,422 Academy dual enrollment hours and divide by three, which is the typical number of credits earned by any a single student passing an AP class, the 2,422 equals 807 students taking an AP class and passing the exam,” Bazzell said. “These students were admitted to outstanding post-secondary institutions on the merits of their previous work and by being accepted based on the college’s admission standards. They worked hard, performed well, and passed without special treatment or other considerations; 23 of these students have earned Associate Degrees. “

This year’s Associate degree seniors include 10 from the Business and Finance Academy, 6 from the Agriscience and Technology Academy, five from the Exercise Science and Health Academy, one from Health Information Systems Academy and one from the First in Flight and Leadership Academy. The First in Flight and Leadership Academy student is prepping at this time for his final FFA exam is expected to become a certified private pilot in the near future.

In the 2018-19 school year, 14 seniors participated in the 231 Externship Project in partnership with the Pike County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC).

“All of the students were highly praised and got excellent marks throughout the school year,” Bazzell said. “Of the 14 students, three were hired in permanent positions.”

The businesses that participated in this program were South Alabama Electric Cooperative, Troy Bank and Trust, Troy Regional Medical Center, Troy Animal Clinic, the Troy Messenger, Tupper Lightfoot Library, Pike Engineering, and Southern Classic Foods.

“We appreciate PCEDC for their willingness to help connect our students with Pike County’s business and industry,” Bazzell said.

“As the year closes, I must say just how proud I am of our schools. We have great staff that put kids first. The steps we have taken to put academic first and to connect students to post-secondary or workforce opportunities are bearing fruit and in my opinion exactly what education should be about. I am also proud of the partnerships we have locally, across Alabama, and regionally. Pike County is really in a good place and as the ‘dog days’ of summer approach, we will work hard getting ready for the beginning of another great year in August.”

Bazzell gave thanks to Troy University, Enterprise State Community College, and Wallace State Community College at Hanceville for their willingness to partner with Pike County Schools.

“Their Leadership is exceptional and their openness to be involved in programs such as this is appreciated,” Bazzell said. “They also have great staff across the board and their willingness to knock down barriers to make something work for students is really, really appreciated.”