Detroit Schools Expand Dual Enrollment Program to Cover All High Schools

Detroit Public Schools Community District has expanded its agreement with Wayne County Community College District, allowing high school students to take dual enrollment courses by attending community college classes. The idea is to create career pathways for students as early as ninth grade and earn up to eight college credits per year at no cost. Up until now, nine of the district's high schools offered dual enrollment, in arrangements they'd struck themselves. Now, by 2020, all 22 high schools will do so, and the agreement will be streamlined across the districts.

According to reporting by Chalkbeat and the Michigan Chronicle, each high school will limit its dual enrollment to one or several of 26 specific pathways. Currently, those encompass: business and entrepreneurship, healthcare, technology, media and arts, law, education, public safety, engineering, manufacturing, transportation, construction and hospitality.

Some of the pathways will lead to certification or other industry licensing for the students; others will reduce the number of credits needed for students to earn an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.

The next step will be for the schools to engage with local businesses to develop internships, job shadowing and employment opportunities that align with the pathways.

The school district recently launched "College Jumpstart," a set of general education, post-secondary classes offered at the community colleges, which are "fully transferable" to 30 Michigan colleges. Students can take these courses as early as their freshman year in high school.

In a quote in the Michigan Chronicle coverage, college district Chancellor Curtis Ivery said these types of initiatives set the public schools apart from other education options. "I think this type of initiative distinguishes us from charter schools and even private schools. Very few high schools in the area offer college dual enrollment and the career academies, which should help give the district a boost."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.