Getting the Credit They Deserve Putnam County High School Students Earn College Credits

They conduct research in Tennessee Technological University's library, use university textbooks and earn college credit -- but they're not college students.

They are high school seniors from Cookeville, Upperman and Monterey High Schools who choose to get a jump on the university experience by enrolling in English 101 and 102 dual credit courses offered at their high schools.

"This class gives our students a better idea of what's expected of them in college," said Jennifer Fields, a Cookeville High School teacher who teaches the dual credit course. "Because they use university resources such as the library, they are able to find a better variety of information which helps them with their high school and college papers."

The course combines the requirements of a senior high school English course with TTU's English 101 during the fall semester and English 102 the during second semester. Tennessee Tech and other Tennessee Board of Regents' universities recognize these credits.

Getting a head start on college and easing into the university experience are certainly advantages, but not the only ones. Upperman High School teacher Lisa Brown raves about the work produced by her students, saying the college textbook used in class has guided her students to challenge themselves.

"My students have written about historical events and people using a sort of investigative reporting technique based on only primary sources such as news stories and interviews," said Brown. "The Marcia Trimble case in the 70s and the Perlmutter trial in the 20s are two examples of interesting topics that students turned in to excellent papers."

Fields, Brown and Monterey High School's Peggy Fragopoulos are also challenged by the task of covering material for two classes at once, but all say the work is worth the reward. Students, parents and school administrators are all looking for the program to grow in the future. Each current classes averages 15-20 students.

"With the cooperation we receive from Tech, the class is challenging, but not intimidating," said Fields. "I think interest will continue to grow because students are recommending it to their friends."

"This cooperation between the county schools and Tennessee Tech is such a benefit to everyone," said Eulene Locke, Putnam County School Superintendent. "We encourage every student interested to find out more about the program."

Tennessee Tech officials make full and partial scholarships available to qualified students who face the hurdle of college credit fees -- about $340 for the course fees, a $15 application fee and about $40 for books and class materials, according to Marvin Barker, TTU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

To qualify, students must have completed their junior years, have a 3.2 grade point average, receive a recommendation from their principal or guidance counselor, hold "B" averages or better in freshman, sophomore and junior English and score a 19 or better on the English portion of the ACT exam.

For more information, call Tennessee Tech's Office of Extended Education at 372-3394.