(RED OAK, Texas) – Representatives from Texas State Technical College’s partnering independent school districts recently shared how the dual enrollment options at TSTC’s North Texas campus offer high school students a new perspective on what higher education can look like.
Jane Dvorak, director of Innovation for Ferris ISD, said the technical dual enrollment options at TSTC provide an opportunity for those students who may not want to take a traditional dual enrollment course.
“We are reaching kids that normally wouldn’t take a dual credit (class),” she said. “They’re not going to take dual credit English, they’re not going to take dual credit math, but they will try something else.”
Eric Pierce, director of Postsecondary Readiness and CTE (career and technical education) for Ennis ISD, also mentioned how TSTC courses reach a group of students that may not typically be reached by dual enrollment course offerings.
“The partnership with TSTC breaks down barriers to trade school and college for our students, who are majority first-generation college students and low-income,” he said. “Experience and exposure to trade school while in high school significantly raises the percentage of students who continue on and find success in trade school, college, and their career.”
Richard Simms, CTE and P-Tech (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools) coordinator for Ferris ISD, said he previously worked a corporate job before going to work for the district. When students ask about why he made the career change, he tells them about his experience.
“I didn’t think I could do college; I was truly afraid,” he said. “Had they had a dual credit computer class, I might have tried that and known I could do school. So it helps change their mindset.”
Dvorak echoed Simms’ point and said that having these options for students allows them to build confidence in their abilities and about their options following high school.
“Them having the opportunity to take college-level classes while they’re in high school, it makes them believe in themselves,” she said. “It sets them up to do whatever else they want to do in the future once they leave because they know they can, that the sky’s the limit.”
Simms said he hopes to see students come out of the TSTC dual enrollment program better.
“(I hope to see) kids that make more than I do,” he said. “We want them to be better than we were. I don’t want them to have $30,000 of loan debt. I want them to go into life having what they need to be successful and productive members of society.”
Pierce said he believes that TSTC’s dual enrollment program allows students to grow and that it better prepares them for the future.
“Students start off strong in any dual credit course, including CTE courses, and they eventually hit the hard part and have to decide whether to fold or to build grit and tenacity to overcome the challenges within learning new material,” he said. “This is a prime example of how programs like TSTC’s high school dual credit program help to mold a positive mindset among our students, the future skilled workers of Texas.”
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.