The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Pulaski County Special School District signed a memorandum of understanding Friday to offer the district’s high school students college credit classes. UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess signed the agreement.
The arrangement applies to four high schools: Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School, Joe T. Robinson High School, Maumelle High School and Sylvan Hills High Schools. Guess said the district about 12,000 students attend the district's schools. The concurrent enrollment agreement could potentially affect many of the district’s 4,000 high schoolers, he said.
"You can see that the potential to serve a large number of kids is there. So we’re excited about the opportunity that middle school students will have to prepare for concurrent credit opportunities and excited about those students in high school having such a rich curriculum and such valuable opportunities,” Guess said.
“It’s so important that we alert parents and students early on about the need to consider a higher education as we move forward in the 21st century workforce,” Rogerson said.
Guess also said would be hiring teachers credentialed to teach the courses. Instructors would need a master’s degree and 18 hours of graduate credits in their course’s subject area to lead concurrent classes, said UALR concurrent enrollment coordinator Mary Woolery. She said the courses offered would be lower level (1000 and 2000-level). Concurrent classes are offered at the high school and are different in that sense from "dual-enrollment" courses which high school students can take at the university.
UALR enrolled about 1,600 students in concurrent high school students at the beginning of this 2016 Fall semester. Concurrent classes cost students $50. The rest of the cost is covered by the university through scholarships, Woolery said.
The program with PCSSD is planned to begin in the Fall 2017.
KUAR is licensed to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Correction: a previous version of this article misspelled Mary Woolery's surname.