According to the New York Times 2005, the ACT yearly report states that less than half of high school students are not prepared for college level math and science. This report however does not apply to the students enrolled in the Louisiana Early Start Program at the Grambling High School.The Louisiana Early Start Program offers college level courses to the high school students. The Program is under the auspices of Dr. Robert M. Dixon, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Grambling State University.
Twenty students have qualified, and are currently enrolled in the Program since its inception as of last year. Eligibility begins when students are in the 11th grade. Students must score a minimum 17 composite score on the PLAN or ACT (or SAT equivalent), in order to participate.
Students must be enrolled in courses for which they can receive dual credit (both high school and college credit). The courses were initially taught by the high school’s teachers, but are now being taught by professors of Grambling State University.
The courses offered are Calculus 1, taught by Mathematics instructor Eugene Taylor, Physical Science, taught by the physics department head, Dr.Avaine Armstrong and Freshman Composition 1, taught by Dr. Pamela Payne, assistant professor of English. Enrollment in the English course requires a minimum 18 composite score on the PLAN or ACT. Courses are taught three times a week by the professors and are supplemented the remainder of the week by the high school teachers.
The enrollees seem quite pleased with their overall performance, in addition to the level of work being taught.
Akayla Andrews, who is currently enrolled in all three courses expressed, “I like the thought that they are college classes. I feel challenged.”
Galen Roberts, who is currently enrolled in the Freshman Composition 1 and Physical Science courses, remarked, “It’s frustrating but rewarding at the same time!”
There are many incentives for parents as well. Jennifer Franks, the coordinator of the Program at the high school, mentioned, “Parents understand the dollar value of the program.” There is no cost incurred by the parents whose children are enrolled.
Franks noted that the cost of books is covered by the high school and the university. In addition, students can receive credit for these courses when they graduate from high school and enroll at any university. This translates into tremendous savings for parents who would otherwise have to pay for these courses were they done at a university.
Parents are also motivated by emotion to have their children enrolled. The enrollees have mentioned how their participation in the Program has been a source of immense pride to their parents, who constantly brag about them to others.
Grambling High School and Grambling State University should be commended for institutionalizing this program. The program has provided us with a glimpse into the future of those enrolled. This future seems limitless and full of promise for the students, as they have proven capable of undertaking challenges.