District Policy Exemplar: Dual Enrollment and Early College

During the transition to a proficiency-based system of teaching and learning, districts and schools will need to review and possibly revise existing policies, while also creating new policies that address emerging models, practices, and learning experiences.

The following district policy exemplar on dual enrollment and early college can be adapted to suit local needs and contexts. The Great Schools Partnership encourages state agencies, nonprofit organizations, districts, and schools to use or revise our policies for noncommercial purposes in the public interest.

Policy: IHCDA

Western Mountains Regional School District
Early College and Dual Enrollment

The Western Mountains Regional School District is committed to preparing all students to succeed in the colleges, careers, and communities of the 21st century. All students enrolled in the district’s schools will have access to a challenging curriculum and instructional strategies that promote high expectations, improve educational performance, and maximize engagement inside and outside the classroom. The Board believes that all students must be exposed to a variety of engaging learning opportunities, and we expect our schools to develop an array of learning pathways that hold every student to high educational standards.

The terms dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college all refer to high school students taking college courses while they are still enrolled in high school. All students enrolled in East High School are encouraged to pursue early college courses, and the school is expected to develop systems that allow concurrently enrolled students to meet expected competencies, and earn appropriate course credit, while enrolled in college-level courses. In addition to their academic merits, early college experiences offer students a glimpse of college work and life, as well as an opportunity to pursue courses not available in high school.

A. Guidelines

An East High School student may enroll in a course or learning experience offered by an accredited, degree-conferring postsecondary institution provided that the course or learning experience is determined by the student’s counselor and/or academic advisor to be academically appropriate and consistent with the student’s personal learning plan. Students, parents, and guardians should be made aware of these opportunities annually, and decisions about early college opportunities should involve parents and guardians.

To ensure that the completion of a dual-enrollment course or learning experience meets expected competencies for high school graduation, the student must secure prior approval from the East High School principal or designee and must successfully complete the course and fulfill all associated requirements. All extended learning opportunities, including college courses, must be reviewed, certified, approved, and documented by administrators, teachers, and staff at East High School. Advisors, counselors, and/or teachers—working in collaboration with college instructors—will certify that the college course or learning experience culminated in the student demonstrating proficiency on the graduation competencies and performance indicators required for graduation and described in the student’s approved personal learning plan.

To satisfy East High School graduation requirements, all college courses and learning experiences must (1) be approved in advance by the school and (2) be of an equal or higher rigor and quality as the school’s academic courses. If questions arise about the rigor, quality, or standards of a college course, the principal or a designee will make the ultimate determination. If a student chooses to use such courses toward high school graduation, then the course content will be examined for alignment with graduation competencies and certified as appropriate by East High School administrators.

Students who successfully complete an approved college course or learning experience will have the experience, and the resulting grade or performance level, reported on the student’s progress reports, report cards, and official East High School transcript.

NOTE: In their dual-enrollment policies, school districts should also address all relevant local issues associated with students taking college courses, including whether students will be responsible for their own transportation or the cost of applicable fees and instructional materials.

Legal Reference
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 207-A §4722-A Proficiency Based Diploma Standards and Transcript (as revised 4/19/2016)
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 208-A §4771 Eligible Institution and Semester
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 208-A §4772 Postsecondary Course; Student Eligibility
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 208-A §4772-A Student Eligibility; Exception
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 208-A §4774 Credits
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 208-A §4775 Payment; Appropriations
Ch. 127 9 (ME Dept. of Education Rule)

Cross Reference   
IF: Proficiency-Based Education
IK: Assessment of Student Learning
IKA: Grading and Reporting System
IKC: Transcripts
IKD: Academic Recognition
IKE: Academic Support: Interventions and Extensions
IKF: Graduation Requirements
IKFF: Multiple Pathways

 Download the District Policy Exemplar: Early College and Dual Enrollment (.doc)

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