Dual Credit Program Uplifts Cascade Science Students

Published: August 18, 2023

Cascade School District Science Teacher, Andrea Meyer, is passionate about helping her students reach success. As the district’s only Science Teacher, she teaches all the junior high and high school students in Cascade and is always in search of new opportunities to support them. 

For a while, Meyer’s dream was to provide college-level classes to her students, but limited resources at her rural school district had made that challenging. 

“Because of how small our district and tight the budget is, every five to six years, I get the chance to review the curriculum and determine was outdated or needs to be replaced,” Meyer said. “While the district is very supportive of our students and teachers, you have to be mindful of what you ask for.” 

In 2022, the district’s Superintendent approached Meyer with new ideas about how to support students around Cascade, including the idea of partnering with College of Western Idaho (CWI) to teach dual credit classes.  

CWI’s Dual Credit program gives students the opportunity to receive both high school and college credits for pre-approved classes, which are transferable to Idaho colleges and universities and many other institutions outside of the state. Dual credit classes cost $75 per credit, and high school students may engage in the classes on campus or online at CWI or at their high school. 

To gauge student interest, Meyer held discussions with her students eligible for the classes, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. She realized this was a pursuit that she and the school needed to embark on. 

The next step was for Meyer to meet with CWI Dual Credit Executive Director, Stephen Crumrine, to begin preparing for the classes. Crumrine asked if Meyer had the resources needed to teach the class, which she had to admit the school lacked. However, through the partnership, CWI provided new equipment such as microscopes and updated textbooks for Meyer and her students. 

The Dual Credit program also provided Cascade School District with aid from faculty at the College, Adjunct Faculty of Biology, Stephen Michas and Adjunct Faculty of Chemistry, Carole Cox, to help with course content for the dual credit Biology and Chemistry classes and support for Meyer. Both faculty members stay in constant communication with Meyer throughout the school year to make sure she and the class have the resources they need to be successful. 

“I am so grateful CWI is able to provide the equipment and support it has for Andrea,” Michas said. “Science is the same thing as teaching critical thinking because it teaches students to make informed decisions. We need science. Without Andrea Meyer, there would be an enormous deficit in the students of Cascade’s education.” 

Meyer remarks how beneficial the new resources have been to the students. Students have shown more engagement and interest in their science classes due to the practical learning environment. The partnership has positively impacted the students' performances, leading to some of Meyer’s science classes scoring well above the state average. 

“I love that I hear more often that science has become one of my students’ favorite classes,” Meyer said. “A student at the end of class the first time they used the microscope asked me if he could come in at lunchtime to look at more microscope samples. I see more of my students interested and thriving in science. That makes me proud, and I am so thankful to CWI for providing these resources for us.” 

For those interested in learning more about CWI Dual Credit programs and the opportunities available around Idaho high schools, please visit Dual Credit’s web page or contact Stephen Crumrine at stephencrumrine@cwi.edu.

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