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Students get ready to enroll in dual enrollment program

It is the middle of the school year and high school students in Idaho Falls are already thinking about next years classes, some even thinking about college class a few years down the road.

Idaho Falls School District 91 and the College of Eastern Idaho have partnered for the “Jumpstart” college program. Students entering their junior year of high school can take one year of GEM credits at the college.

“The high school counselors are working with their students in order to combine some of their junior and senior requirements with the college curriculum in order to get 36 credit hours by the time that they graduate from high school,” said Becca Franco, the dual credit coordinator for College of Eastern Idaho.

The GEM credits meet Idaho Falls School District 91s graduation requirements.

“I’ll have students either take our college English classes here or they’ll go over to CEI and take that in place of the junior English they would be taking here,” said Sam Booth, the school counselor for Compass Academy.

To be eligible, you have to be a junior, at least 16 years old in the first semester, have a 3.0 grade point average, good attendance and parent permission.

“We’re looking for effort and will and want to be there, Booth said. “College is a completely different step from high school.”

When students like sophomore Macy Hyde heard about the program, they were ready for the challenge.

“I’m definitely going to do it, that was my first thought,” Hyde said.

Hyde said that she is a naturally ambitious person, so this was an opportunity she could not pass up. She said a big draw to the program was being able to get a sneak peek of what college is like.

“To take on a little more responsibility and learn the ropes before you just jump in to a whole new world when you’re 18,” Hyde said. “This is sort of guiding you into that.”

One thing she is excited to do is take classes that could one day help her career.

“I want to be a botany professor because I’ve always had this love for teaching other people, but I also really like plants,” Hyde said.

The tracks can be adjusted to meet each students’ needs.

Students will be able to use their fast forward money, which is money that is collected for every Idaho students in grades 7 through 12 with the advanced opportunities program, to help pay for these classes.

“Kids ask a lot of time about scholarships and the state gives ($4,125) for them to take these credits,” Booth said. “The students that are ready and willing to go take those credits they can do it and pay very little.”

Some students, like Hyde, are ready to take full advantage of this options.

“I really believe in the value of education,” Hyde said. “It was something I was taught by my grandfather, like get as much education as you can and really work towards a job.

The gem credits are easily transferable to any Idaho university.

Applications for Idaho Falls School District “Jumpstart” program are due Feb. 22.

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