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Program Aims to Boost Dual-Enrollment Offerings in Rural Colorado

A new initiative will help teachers in rural Colorado earn additional credentials so they are qualified to teach dual enrollment classes in high schools, which may boost the number of college credits students earn prior to enrolling in higher education.

The Colorado State University-Global Campus will partner with Otero Junior College, the Generation Schools Network, and Battelle for Kids to offer scholarships for teachers in five rural school districts. Those teachers can then enroll in teacher-development courses and earn credentials to become certified to teach dual-enrollment classes. The initiative is expecting to increase the number of dual enrollment teachers in the five-district network by 50 percent, according to a CSU-Global press release.

Nationwide, rural states often struggle to offer dual-enrollment courses because those classes are contingent on having certified teachers, and rural schools struggle to recruit and retain teachers. However, some research has shown that participating in dual-enrollment programs can increase the likelihood that a student will graduate from high school and attend college, which is attractive for rural schools where students are less likely to go to college than their non-rural peers.

A 2014 report found that some states have found success through similar private-public partnerships, covering program costs, and increasing location offerings for classes, such as allowing dual-enrollment courses to be taught outside of a college or high school setting. Like the new initiative in Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota have offered financial aid for high school teachers to earn certification.

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