Almost a dozen Natchez High seniors volunteer to take new advanced placement courses

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

The easy way out is not something with which a group of Natchez High seniors are familiar.

A little fewer than a dozen 12th-graders volunteered for more work in the year that is supposed to be set aside for rest and relaxation. Those students are the first set at the school to participate in online advanced placement courses. Online AP classes were made available to the district by the state for the first time this year and Natchez High was willing to jump on board, Principal James Loftin said. This year NHS is offering four courses, English, government, physics and psychology.

At the end of the course the students will be able to take an AP test to possibly receive college credit for the course. The students had to meet a GPA requirement to be eligible for the new classes. &uot;Because of the online nature, they can log on at home,&uot; Loftin said. &uot;A lot of our seniors have abbreviated schedules and work after school, so a lot that are more academically inclined are interested in this.&uot;

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The students can access the class Web site from any computer and must meet deadlines for assignments. A teacher, either here or elsewhere in the state, is assigned to grade the work.

Several of the students enrolled in the online courses are also a part of a dual-enrollment senior English class with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. These students will automatically receive six hours of college credit upon passing the course.

Irma Caldwell, who also teaches freshman composition at Co-Lin, is teaching the dual-enrollment courses at the high school. She has a total of 32 students spread over two class periods.

&uot;We follow the exact curriculum that Co-Lin follows,&uot; Caldwell said. &uot;Instead of taking the easy way out, these students actually took a way that they might learn something, they might benefit from it.&uot;

Senior Erica Davis said she signed on for the college-level course for a challenge. &uot;It’s good to keep your mind working, and it’s good to have background for college,&uot; she said.

The students in the class had to pay a tuition fee to enroll, but Loftin said the school offers a waiver for those who need it.

Caldwell said she enjoyed teaching her NHS seniors even more than teaching actual college students. &uot;All of these kids are smart,&uot; she said. &uot;This is the cream of the crop.&uot;

The students said they know the class will be more difficult than a regular senior English class but understand what they are getting into.

&uot;We are going to write a little more,&uot; Jonathan Collier said.

The dual-enrollment class is all about writing, Caldwell said.

&uot;I don’t think they ever really thought about what they wrote as far as what the sentence contains,&uot; she said. &uot;But they turned in their writing assignment and it showed vast improvement.&uot;

Dual-enrollment courses have been available at the school for several years.

Loftin said he hopes to increase online AP course enrollment next year.