Two leaders in online education are partnering to provide improved dual enrollment and early college programs for high school students.
Northwestern State University and University View Academy announced an agreement in which University View high school students will simultaneously take online college courses through NSU starting this fall.
University View Academy is Louisiana’s highest performing free, public K-12 online charter school where students excel using a rigorous state approved curriculum under the direction of certified teachers. University View is the only Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education-authorized public charter school to offer a K-14 degree program to any enrolled student in any parish through its virtual platform.
Dr. Darlene Williams, Northwestern State’s Vice President for Technology, Innovation and Economic Development, said providing online dual enrollment offerings is the next logical step to expanding both NSU’s early college programs and its online education footprint.
“We’ve been providing dual enrollment opportunities since 2001 in a face-to-face format in high schools or on our campus. We recently began offering online options for high school students,” Dr. Williams said. “Given our advancement in online education and being one of Louisiana’s leading providers, it seemed like a great opportunity and obvious choice to partner with University View, which is progressive and believes in providing a flexible learning environment.”
The statewide online charter school located in Baton Rouge enrolls nearly 2,600 students. The Early College Program alone, which embeds dual enrollment, will have 100 students per grade level.
Mandy LaCerte, University View’s Director of Early College and Workforce Development, said Northwestern State is in position to provide quality online instruction. “What makes this such a great fit is the shared vision of academic excellence and our mutual belief that Louisiana students have the determination to succeed in this program,” Ms. LaCerte said.
“We want our graduates to be able to succeed on a college campus, and those that enroll at NSU while in our high school will have a leg up on being successful when they transition to the full college experience,” added University View Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Luce.
Northwestern State offers 40 online degrees, and Dr. Williams added that the initial set of offerings will be core courses like college Math and English. Students can obtain college credit while working toward a high school diploma through this program. NSU served 1,427 dual enrollment students in 61 high school across 30 parishes this past spring.
“We hope that students are interested in continuing their education, whether they complete an Associate’s degree while in high school or not,” Dr. Williams said. “We hope they select NSU as their school of choice to continue their education — whether it’s coming to our physical campus or continuing online with us.
“University View’s faculty meets our credentials for teaching college courses, so we think this is a wonderful opportunity to partner with a progressive high school that looks for opportunities for current and future students.”
The NSU and UView faculties participated in a professional development workshop in which they collaborated on online teaching philosophies and techniques. Both Dr. Williams and Ms. LaCerte asserted that online education will improve with input from high school and college perspectives.
“What came from the event was the mutual understanding from both sides that students within Louisiana deserve a better, more effective dual enrollment program,” Ms. LaCerte said. “Dual Enrollment programs should have students better prepared for college and more exposed to true college.
“We focused on the best practices for students, the impact of dual enrollment on a high school student’s future and an honest discussion around common summative assignments. NSU’s team shared ideas for strengthening students’ skills prior to enrolling in college courses, and UView hopes to take this knowledge and allow this partnership to shift the way high school education looks for students by strengthening content in lower grades to better prepare these students.”
Students can learn more about Northwestern State’s online education opportunities by visiting nsula.edu/ensu.