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More DPS Students have Access to Free College

More DPS students have access to free college, participation levels at an all-time high

 

Oct. 24, 2017

“As a DPS student, I’ve had the opportunity to take numerous college classes, which has led me to my true passion: multimedia,” said Eliseo Vigil, a junior at West Early College. “Currently, I’m working in my advanced multi-media class to build a video utilizing linear structures to tell a narrative.”

Eliseo, like many DPS students, will be the first in his family to go to college. His experience with concurrent enrollment — in which students can take college courses while still in high school —  and hands-on classes started with a keyboarding class, where he learned how to type and developed basic business skills. From there, he took advantage of as many free college classes as he could take, and moved into working with information technology systems, tech support, networking and even learned how to build computers. These experiences uncovered what would lead to a future career path.

With an emphasis on redesigning the high school experience, DPS is working to ensure students graduate ready for college and career through rigorous coursework and high standards. Eliseo is one of thousands of DPS students exploring career paths while in high school, and benefiting from programs to help them reach their dreams.

Last year, over 8,000 DPS high school students took nearly 20,000 college and advanced placement courses, giving them access to free college credits.

“Concurrent enrollment is a critical component in the shift to provide our DPS students multiple pathways to college and career, as a proven, effective strategy in increasing graduation and college enrollment rates, and instilling confidence in our students,” said Dr. Kim Poast, executive director of the DPS Office of College and Career Readiness.

DPS programs are making access to higher education a reality, particularly for underrepresented students — such as first-generation college students, low-income students, students of color and English language learners — providing them an intentional pathway toward a meaningful career. Available at all DPS high schools, as well as select charter schools, many concurrent enrollment credits are transferrable to a two- or four-year college degree program, saving students both time and money on their college and career journey.

“Our students work really hard, and it’s important for them to know college is attainable for them, and we have the tools and supports they need to be successful,” explained Dr. Poast.

With opportunities and access, students have more choices. DPS provides students with several pathways to continued success — whether that’s the workforce after graduation, continued training for specialized certifications or continuing their higher education at a four-year college.

“I recently learned my passion of filmmaking,” Eliseo said. “I just want to be able to share my vision with the world. I want to go to a school where I can do that. So, right now, I’m looking forward to going to a specialized film school to get my training and become a director.”

Participation in concurrent enrollment is based on a student’s college-readiness, as well as their Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP), which students develop with their counselor or school leader.  

For more information on college and career programs that help prepare students for their futures, visit collegeandcareer.dpsk12.org and reach out to your high school’s counseling staff.