Concurrent Enrollment Opens Doors
Naliyah works on a short story in her Creative Writing class Naliyah, a junior at Florence Crittenton High School is enrolled in two of the concurrent enrollment classes offered this semester “It’s really beneficial for college…
Naliyah, a junior at Florence Crittenton High School is enrolled in two of the concurrent enrollment classes offered this semester “It’s really beneficial for college and high school,” Naliyah says. “If I choose to go to college, it’s already set up, so I don’t have to take as long as anyone else.” The concurrent enrollment program continues to grow at Florence Crittenton, providing girls the chance to take college level courses and get both high school and college credits at no cost to them with local community colleges like Community College of Denver and Metropolitan State University while still enrolled in high school. This school year, the high school was excited to add both Creative Writing and Early Childhood Education 101 and 102 classes to the schedule in addition to the Women of Color class already offered. Enrollment is up in all three classes, and the pass rate for this school year is 93%, which is 3% higher than the Denver Public Schools district average.
Educational Counselor Sarah Hernandez heads up the concurrent enrollment program at the high school. “Seeing how well our girls are doing in concurrent enrollment classes, and seeing how well the numbers are keeping up, we’re trying to expand it,” says Sarah. “I’ve seen a big push in them shifting and believing that they want more and can have more this year. I think it’s because we are opening those possibilities and letting them know you can do this and we’re here to help you.”
Annie Fulton, ECE Faculty at the Community College of Denver, teaches the new ECE 101 and 102 courses. The introduction to early childhood education classes looks at topics like child development milestones and research-based practices, and explores preparing learning environments for young children “These students who have young children in the home, whether or not they consider moving forward in the early childhood profession, they can take these practices that they learn in the classroom and implement them in the home with their children,” says Annie. FloCrit senior Jenacy is enrolled in the ECE 101 course. She has found the concurrent enrollment courses helpful because she can get a sampling of career choices before she graduates from high school. “Having a child of my own, this class teaches me more about being a mom and learning the different practices and techniques to help my child and me learn together,” says Jenacy. “Also, if I decide to become an ECE teacher, I have the practice, because I enjoy being with my child and other kids. So if I do decide that in the future, I have the experience and a little more knowledge.”
Naliyah is enrolled in both the Women of Color and Creative Writing classes. “Concurrent enrollment is really beneficial for college and high school, because we get a little bit more credits being in high school and taking college classes,” says Naliyah. “If I choose to go college, it’s already set up so I don’t have to take as long as anybody else would.” She especially enjoys the Women of Color class. “When I started this class, it was really nice to see another woman of color [Metropolitan State University Professor Angell Perez] teach us about itersectionality and stuff like that,” Naliyah acknowledges. She likes the opportunity the class provides for her and the other girls to talk about their experiences as women of color and teen moms, how that affects them, and the ways they are discriminated against.
Myra, a junior at FloCrit, is taking her third concurrent enrollment class. She plans to go to University of Colorado Denver after she graduates to pursue a degree in Nursing. “I do want to go to college after I graduate, and it’s nice to get ahead. Now I have my first year basically done,” Myra says. “I plan to be in school for a long time, because I want to be a nurse, so I may as well get some classes done and out of the
way.” Myra is currently in the Creative Writing class, which has been her favorite of the three she has taken. “I like this class because you can really write about you,” she smiles. “You have an outlet in this class where you can write about your experiences and your life. We can really express ourselves in our writing, and I like that.”
For Sarah, the expansion of the concurrent enrollment program and post-secondary education and career options is about seeing the excitement on the faces of the girls when they learn about opportunities they didn’t know existed. “I’m a huge advocate in letting them know that despite all odds, they can do something whether it’s starting a trade school, and then going to community college, and then university, or starting at community college and then going to a university. It’s important because they have all these odds against them,” she reflects. “They already have a stigma because they’re teen moms. I tell them, ‘Don’t let the world tell you that you can’t.’”