Golder College Prep is one of a few schools in CPS testing out the “Model D” dual enrollment courses this year. This model is somewhat of a hybrid between courses taught at a college and those taught at the high school campus. In this model, students review online material and lectures from a college professor at their high school campus. This model is helpful in two ways: students don’t have to leave the campus, and the high school doesn’t have to have a certified high school teacher to lead the course.
For Golder, this has been a game changer in making college-level classes more accessible for students who don’t have room in their schedule to leave campus, especially diverse learners.
“This initiative, for me, is about trying to remove a specific barrier to accessing higher rigor courses while students are still in high school,” Julianne Horning, dean of college & career counseling at Golder, said.
If it works out well, the model also has the potential to substantially increase the school’s course offerings. As a small school, Golder doesn’t have as many trained staff members to offer more dual credit and AP courses. But with Model D, they just need to have a couple of staff members available to supervise.
“I love Golder, but we’re small, right? We don’t have the same course offerings as Speer or Mansueto because of our size and staffing. So, it’s also just a way to have more diverse course offerings for students,” Horning said.
This fall semester, Golder had over half of its senior class enrolled in the new Model D course— Intro to Computer Science—which would not have been possible with a standard dual enrollment course. While there have been some bumps in the road, Horning said, she is overall excited because she can see how her students’ experiences in the class are helping them build their confidence and discover more about themselves as learners.
“I like how we’re sort of at our own pace,” Kamariah W., a senior who took the class last semester, said, “It’s not really a teacher talking—it’s a computer talking—and that’s kind of good for me because I just feel like I’m a better learner that way.”
For her peer, Tyler F., this was his first time taking a college-level course. He said the experience reduced his stress about the difficulty of college courses.
“I was most definitely nervous, but then it just went away,” Tyler said, “I feel like people were overexaggerating the fact of how difficult the class may be. But, overall, if you’re paying attention and reading the notes and all that, it’s not that hard.”
This year was just the first test run. If the model works out, Horning hopes that they will be able to continue to work with their university partner, Truman College, to offer a wider variety of courses to seniors and juniors.