A dual enrollment information session for students who attend one of Hampton's four public high schools drew a big crowd to campus.
High school sophomores, many with parents in tow, converged on Thomas Nelson’s Hampton campus recently for an information session on the College’s dual enrollment program.
The Jan. 14 session targeting Hampton City Schools attracted more than 200 people who turned out at the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium. The College has agreements with every public high school and several private schools on the Peninsula. Some information sessions take place at Thomas Nelson and some at the high schools. Nearly 200 students and parents were on hand for the Newport News Public Schools session, and about 100 for Williamsburg and James City County. Kim Calloway, an education coordinator in Student Affairs at Thomas Nelson, said the turnouts have been bigger than in years past.
LaToya Lawson, a college and career coach for Phoebus and Kecoughtan high schools, said of the session for Hampton City Schools students: “The night ran well. We were there 45 minutes to an hour, so I think it was concise. It was timely information.”
Thomas Nelson's dual enrollment partnership with the high schools allows 11th and 12th graders to earn high school and college credit simultaneously from the comfort of their home schools. The curriculum covers approved Thomas Nelson courses taught by high school faculty who have adjunct status at the College.
“They (students) enjoy being able to do this inside of the schools,” said Dual Enrollment Coordinator Genevieve Elazier, who is also a college and career coach with Bethel and Hampton high schools. “They feel like life is normal.”
In addition, students are familiar with the teachers or at least have heard about them from friends. And, only select faculty can teach the dual enrollment courses.
“Teachers go through a very extensive review in order to be approved as a dual enrollment instructor,” Elazier said.
Elazier, who has in her ninth year with Hampton City Schools, said numbers have increased substantially since her first year.
“Last year, they calculated we’ve grown dual enrollment by 600 percent over the last couple of years,” she said. “The division has actively worked since, I’d say 2011, to progressively grow dual enrollment.”
She attributes the program's growth in part to the expansion of available courses. Dual enrollment primarily covered career and technical education (CTE) classes in the past. That is no longer the case.
“To be able to offer it in the core classes really seemed to open the dual enrollment door for our students,” Elazier said.
There is no set number of courses students have to take in dual enrollment. Students can take just one to get a taste of college courses. Lawson and Elazier both said they know students who didn’t think college was for them until taking a dual enrollment class.
“That is a good feeling when you take (someone) who did not think college was right for them,” Lawson said. “We see that often, the student who wasn’t quite sure, then all of a sudden the light bulb goes off, and they are quite successful in college.”
That is one reason the information sessions are so important.
For more information on dual enrollment opportunities at Thomas Nelson, view the College’s website. Information is also available at high school guidance offices.