Boyd High School marks growth in college program

By David Talley | Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Tags: ,

Share this page...

A year after Boyd High School offered students an expanded set of college classes, it’s seeing those classes swell in size and participation.

“My class last year was six people,” said geoscience teacher Amanda Mathews. “I’ve got 23 this year.”

The class is a high school elective but counts toward a transferable college science credit through the University of Texas’ On-Ramps program. Plus, Mathews said, students get an in-depth college experience with innovative labs and homework assignments.

“Right now we’re running real-time data from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on sea floor spreading and calculating the depth of the sea floor and how fast it’s moved,” Mathews said.

It’s labs and real-world opportunities like these that have attracted students to the school’s On-Ramps classes, Principal Dr. Susan Foster said. The courses have several prerequisites, including upperclassman status and a teacher recommendation. The school offers four classes through the program – geoscience, pre-calculus, honors physics and English – in addition to its other dual credit courses through Weatherford College.

Foster said that’s one more On-Ramps course than the school offered last year.

“And they’re full. I think they like the challenge,” Foster said. “I think they like the level that it’s taught at.”

In Chris Nason’s On-Ramps English class, Foster said students write college-level essays, spending time with their instructor before and after school to hone their submissions to be graded by an actual UT professor. Courses are taught jointly with staff at UT issuing a college grade for assignments in addition to students’ high school marks.

While the rigor of the coursework is college-level, students retain a safety net in their On-Ramps classes, Foster said. If their grade dips below a marked point near the end of the semester, they have the option to have the grade not show on their college transcript. They’ll continue to be enrolled in the high school class and receive the college experience.

“Last year, Mathews even took students on a field trip to San Angelo State University for a tour of its geoscience program. Students sat in on a college class and got to talk with professors afterward, Foster said.

Mathews said that’s what courses in the program are for, to give students a glimpse at the next part of their education.

“They actually teach this course on campus at UT every year,” she said. “We’re just teaching it here.”

Leave a Reply. Note: As of March 24, 2011, all posted comments will include the users full name. News and Blog Comment Guidelines

You must be logged in to post a comment.