High School Starting Early for Junior High Students

Eighth+grader%2C+Claire+Cornwell

Eighth grader, Claire Cornwell

This year the school has seen an increase in the number of eighth grade students that are taking high school classes. There are four classes that are being offered for eighth graders to participate in and earn high school credit.

Different classes that are being offered this year for eighth graders to take are Algebra I Pre AP with Kyle Chase, Intro to Ag with Kerry Wyatt, English 9 Pre AP with Pam Street and Biology I Pre AP with Lindsay Rowland.

Guidance Counselor Brandi Kerley says that education is continually improving. Eventually, some seventh grade students could be seen participating in high school classes. With younger students taking higher classes, the rate of students graduating midterm could increase.

“It is possible that more will graduate midterm but the kids taking these Pre AP classes are going to want to get the most out of their education,” said Kerley.

Any students that are taking these Pre AP classes now will have an opportunity to take AP classes in high school.

Principal Casey Brewster decided to have more junior high students in taking high school classes because he wanted them to have more opportunities to expand their education. According to Kerley, Pre AP classes are here to stay.

“Other eighth graders around the state are also taking high school classes, I’m just not sure to what extent,” said Kerley.

At the end of an AP class, students have the opportunity to take the AP test and earn college credit which can be used at any Indiana college. The amount of college credit earned depends on the score on the test.

In Indiana, the AP test for math and science courses are all free of charge. However, if students take other AP classes, they will need to pay a fee to take the test. Students should not let the cost of the test prevent them from continuing with Pre AP and AP classes. If for some reason students are having financial issues, students can make arrangements with the guidance office in order to waive the charges and take the test.

This year PHS has seen a large increase in the amount of eighth graders earning high school credit. Eventually PHS will see certain seventh graders having the opportunity to participate in high school classes. Along with test scores and overall class grades, teachers can recommend a student for the class.

“I do not thing that seventh graders should be able to earn high school credit,” said Biology teacher Lindsay Rowland. “I don’t feel that they are mature enough to handle the content, nor do I think that they have had enough background in order to do well in high school classes.”

Rowland said that her eighth grade students are ready for the content that she has given to them and feels like they should be able to maximize their potential in their academics.

“I love having junior high students in class. They are so well behaved and ready to do well. They work hard and really want to learn,” said Rowland.

There are many factors that go into deciding whether a junior high student should be involved in a class to earn high school credit.

One thing that is looked at is scores from different test such as ISTEP and Acuity. Along with scores from mandatory test, the students overall classroom grades are looked at. Teachers also recommend different students to be placed in a Pre AP class. If a student has not been given the opportunity to take a Pre AP class as an eighth grader but they feel that they are ready to excel and work hard, parents can contact the guidance office and they will work together on a plan to get the student involved in a class.

Eight grade student Claire Cornwell is involved in four different high school classes. Cornwell is in Yearbook, Biology I Pre AP, English 9 Pre AP and Algebra I Pre AP. Cornwell said that she has noticed the classes are harder and more challenging than the average class.

“I don’t think we have more homework than the other eighth graders but I think that are work is more time consuming,” said Cornwell.

Eighth grade student Laundon Goldsby is also in a few high school classes. Goldsby is taking Yearbook and English 9 Pre AP. Goldsby also agrees that the homework is harder and more time consuming than it was in the past.

“A Pre AP class is a class that is getting students prepared to take AP and College Credit classes as a junior or senior,” said Kerley.

Pre AP classes are not an average class. Being in a Pre AP class means more work, harder work, and student have to be willing to keep up. So far this year, there have been a few students that have realized quickly that they were just not ready to take a Pre AP class as an eighth grader.

Story by Bailey Rankin, Photo by Levi Retherford

Eighth grader, Claire Cornwell