By Amber Hayden
GLENWOOD CITY — To Glenwood City high school/ middle school principal Patrick Gretzlock, the advancement of his students has always been a high priority.
In recent years the Early College Credit and Start College Now programs were referred to as Youth Options and, according to Gretzlock, there wasn’t a full reason behind the change in titles except which colleges supported which program.
The Early College Credit program is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin and Start College now is associated with the technical colleges such as Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).
For each of the programs, students in grades 10 through 12 are allowed 18 credits, after which they are no longer eligible for classes.
In order to apply for the programs students must have a grade point average of 3.0 along with no disciplinary actions on their school record.
Gretzlock also stated that the student’s schedule is looked at to determine if they can handle the extra work load.
“We don’t want to say go ahead and do this if it looks like they can’t handle the load,” explained Gretzlock, “we don’t want to set them up to fail.”
The other concern students will face, is can they make it to their classes on time especially the UW campuses as they are no longer offering online courses for Early College Credit and wanting students in the classrooms with the professors.
For the Glenwood City students, it poses a problem as UW-Stout and UW-River Falls are both over a 30 minute drive, and that does not include time to find parking and walking across the campus to get to their classes, according to Gretzlock.
“They would have to leave an hour early to get there and find parking, then the 45 minutes to an hour of class time and the drive back,” Gretzlock stated, “it takes away from the classes they need to attend here in order to graduate.”
Students do have the option to delay their graduation in order to finish the required classes by the Glenwood City school district, but Gretzlock does not recommend this option to students and continues to encourage students to graduate on time.
He does see the benefit of taking the college courses before leaving high school as it will start a student further ahead into his or her degree of choice. The cost is free to students as the district, along with the state, pick up the cost of the classes.
For one three credit course the Glenwood City school district paid just over $300, where in previous year the cost was bordering $1,100 per course.
“We want kids to look outside the box, or comfort zone of the four walls of their high school,” stated Gretzlock. “We want them to know there is more out there.”
Glenwood City high school does offer the option of dual enrollment for some of their classes that are partnered with CVTC such as an agriculture class or any of the classes affiliated with tech ed.
Students wishing to apply for the spring and summer semester need to submit their applications by November 1, and for the fall semester students need to have an application in by March 1.