New Plymouth High School debuts Advanced Opportunities Program

Posted at 7:23 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 21:36:15-04

One local high school is leading the way in helping its students go on to college.

New Plymouth High School is taking part in a new, state program called  "Advanced Opportunities."

And, at New Plymouth High School, a good portion of the student body is eager to get started on college while still in high school.

"The students are creating the demand for the supply of these courses. They're the ones who want to be in dual credit and AP level classes," says Tina Polishchuk, coordinator of Advanced Opportunities for the Idaho State Department of Education. "And, because they now have this $4,000 available, we're seeing schools like New Plymouth that are really growing and expanding their programs."

It operates differently, depending on which school you attend.

The program is being highlighted in New Plymouth this week with their partners and state leaders there to answer questions and cheer them on.

"It's competitive out there. Some of our students last year graduated with 50-60 credits," says Clete Edmunson, principal at New Plymouth High School. "So, they have two years of college out of the way, free of charge."

During the last legislative session, a law passed that combined all college-credit bearing programs and pathways into one program.

The now all-inclusive advanced opportunities program also came with Fast-Forward Funding meaning that each public school and charter school student in Idaho, 7-12 grades, has $4,125 to spend throughout their academic career.

Students can use their money for dual credit courses, overload courses and any college credit-bearing or professional certification examination.

Not everyone may be up for the challenge.

"It may not be for everyone but we want to make sure every student, parent knows about it," Edmunson says.

The idea is to start thinking about it early on, and work toward getting as many "general" classes out of the way, even if you don't know yet what you want to be when you grow up.

Students are encouraged to have a 4-6 year plan.

Parents and students are encouraged to get advice and support from school counselors.