New Prague Students Earn College Credit without Leaving High School

Principal Lonnie Seifert and the entire staff at New Prague High School continually work to provide the best educational opportunities for their students. One example of this is that nearly 45 percent of New Prague juniors and seniors are taking college-credit courses, which range across the major academic disciplines including Math, Science, English, Art, World Language and Social Studies, with fifteen different classes being offered throughout these subjects.  

Instead of taking college-level courses at a nearby college or university, as is the custom with Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) courses, all of a student’s classes are offered within the confines of New Prague Area High School, courtesy of our Concurrent Enrollment (CE) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs.  These classes allow students to retain the experience of high school;  still hang out with friends, experience homecoming week, attend assemblies, go to sporting events; all while earning college credit, but not on a strict college schedule.  

These programs allow students to retain the experience of high school while earning up to a year and a half of college credits for free. CE and AP courses give students the opportunity to challenge themselves, engage in classes at an accelerated rate, and study college-level texts, equations, and subjects.  One of the benefits of taking CE and AP courses is high school students are able to build a college transcript by taking courses in high school that carry the same academic weight and transferability as if they were taken on any state university campus.  Students who successfully complete these courses generate both high school and college credit from the partnering postsecondary institution.  The credits earned through these programs are accepted at most colleges, technical colleges, and universities throughout the country.  CE credits can go toward a college degree, exempt the student from a required course, or place them in an advanced course when they get to college.

There is no cost to students to participate in these courses.  Concurrent courses benefit students both educationally and financially. With college tuition costs increasing every year, CE options can help make post-secondary education more affordable by allowing students to earn college credits while still in high school – at no cost to the family, saving them hundreds, even thousands of dollars in college tuition.  In 2013-14 alone, New Prague High School students earned 426 college credits and saved $214,299.  This resulted in a large cost savings for college-bound students as some have the opportunity to enter college essentially as a junior with two years of college already paid by taxpayers.

Besides the educational benefits it offers students, our district reaps the benefits of keeping our students at the high school because K-12 education is funded on a per-student basis.  The more students a district enrolls, the more funding it receives.  When a high school student decides to take a college course at a nearby college campus through PSEO, those student dollars flow out the door with the student making it more important now than ever to offer our students advanced placement classes within the district.

New Prague Area Schools set rigorous goals each year and are proud to provide a high quality learning environment to improve student learning.  Thank you for your continued support of our schools and young people.  Together we will build a bright future!

Superintendent, Tim Dittberner