Psychology Partners to Offer Concurrent Classes at Stillwater High School

From the Stillwater News Press:

Stillwater High juniors and seniors wanting to earn college credits now don’t have to travel any further than down the hall.

Oklahoma State University has partnered with the high school and currently offers a college-level U.S. history and psychology class at a discounted rate.

For many years, Stillwater High School students have traveled to OSU to take college courses and get a head start on college, but this is the first time OSU has provided teachers in the high school.

Both teachers are PhD students who have experience teaching at high schools.

“This is the starting line,” said Brett Rowh, coordinator of concurrent programs at OSU. “This program is about extending as many opportunities to students as we can.”

Concurrent enrollment is open to all juniors and seniors enrolled in an accredited Oklahoma high school that are interested in earning college credit.

Rowh said that anyone interested in bringing concurrent learning to their school should reach out to him at 405-744-1393 or . A minimum of 15 students in required before an OSU instructor would teach at a school site.

Rowh credits his boss, Pamela Fry, associate provost at OSU, for supporting concurrent education and bringing him on two years ago to lead the program.

“She was the driving force behind creating a position here that is solely dedicated to the needs of concurrent students and in supporting all the new avenues for course delivery,” Rowh said.

Principal Uwe Gordon said the partnership with OSU has been great.

“I haven’t had a psychology teacher for seven or eight years due to budget cuts,” Gordon said. “Having a psychology class is a great benefit to students because we have had the demand for it.”

Gordon likes being able to offer his students college courses at the high school.

“The kids like this option because they can still participate in extracurricular activities,” he said.

Senior Annie Kate Wilson, 17, who is enrolled in both college courses at the high school, said she loves how the classes fit right into her schedule.

“I don’t have to drive to OSU, worry about parking and finding the building,” Wilson said. “I signed up for the classes because I wanted to get ahead and I hope that it will help me get into OSU.”

Fellow senior Andrew Hall, 17, who is enrolled in the U.S. History course, said he was enjoying learning about how the 13 colonies were formed.

Hall said he finds the content interesting but is also taking the course because it is cheaper now than taking it as a college student.

Seniors get tuition waved and about half the fees eliminated, according to Rowh. They end up paying about $240 per class.

Juniors have the same reduction of fees but aren’t eligible for a tuition waver, Rowh said.

Rowh wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to convince department heads to support concurrent education and said he was pleasantly surprised when leaders including Thad Leffingwell, professor and head of the psychology department, and Laura Belmonte, professor and head of the history department, showed support.

Leffingwell who has had multiple children take college course at OSU while attending Stillwater High, said it made perfect since to offer courses at the high school as well as continued courses at the university.

Belmonte agreed and said the more students can take advantage of college course while in high school, the cheaper their education will be.

Belmonte said that a growing number of incoming OSU students arrive with up to a year of college education already under their belts and that she’d like to see OSU make sure they are prepared.

“We want to have some control of the level of rigor of the courses,” Leffingwell said.

Stillwater High School plans to offer American history and creative writing to students after the winter break.