Kamiah High School Offers Students Dual Career Opportunities

April 13, 2020

Kamiah is the small high school that offers big opportunities for
students who seek to jump-start their post-secondary education by taking dual credit classes in high school. Principal Peggy Flerchinger said to think of Kamiah as “the little school that could.”
Dual credit classes are those that concurrently earn high school and college
credits. The program was created by the Idaho Legislature in 1997 to provide Idaho students an opportunity to earn college credits at a low cost.
Since the beginning of the program in 1998, Kamiah High School has actively
partnered with Lewis-Clark State College to offer students the opportunity to earn over 30 dual credits prior to graduation, meaning they can graduate from high school with enough credits to be considered a college sophomore.
Flerchinger emphasized that Kamiah is very fortunate to have quality educators
who can obtain the credentials necessary to teach dual credit classes. Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) sets the standards for selecting qualified teachers. Teachers apply to teach college-level courses and, if approved, they are paired with a LCSC faculty member and are routinely observed to ensure “program quality and course alignment.”
Dual credit classes currently offered at Kamiah High School include College
Algebra and Trigonometry, Statistical Reasoning, Introduction to Allied Health, Medical Terminology, Web Development I and II, Physical Geology, Writing and Rhetoric I, United States History Since 1865, and Principles of Chemistry. Not every class is offered every academic year.
Ryan Gill, Director of Academic Programs at LCSC says the quality of dual credit
instruction at Kamiah High School is outstanding. “Lewis-Clark State College is proud of our partnership with the school, and we are excited that Kamiah students have such a tremendous opportunity to earn early college credit.”
Janna Privette teaches dual credit physical geology. According to Privette,
geology is one of those classes many students enroll in just to fulfill a science
requirement, then find they really love the subject matter. “I am excited that I have the opportunity to introduce students to this field before they get to college because I think it has the potential to inspire them to study science in college,” Privette stated. “Many students don’t realize there are scientists whose jobs allow them to work outside every day in landscapes they love. Geology is definitely one of those sciences,” she added. Privette, who has a Master of Science in geology, has experience teaching students at the college level and is excited to give students insight into what it’s like to take a college course.
Stefanie Brimacomb, one of Kamiah High School’s career-technical education
instructors, became an educator after working in the business sector. She holds a Master of Educational Technology and is enthusiastic to offer dual credit and industry certification opportunities that deliver industry-standard skills and introduce students to computer science and graphic design. Brimacomb explained that students enrolled in the course learn fundamentals of web design, preparing them for greater opportunities in post-secondary careers. In fact, many students earn Microsoft and Adobe certifications prior to high school graduation.
Darra Snyder, Registered Nurse, teaches classes that prepare students for health
care professions. She said she is excited that Kamiah High School can offer health care classes at a fraction of the cost of traditional college classes. A further benefit is that students can determine if a career in a medical field is right for them before investing in more expensive college classes. Kamiah also offers Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes providing students with leadership skills, hands-on experience, and marketable skills that can qualify students for employment after graduation.
Math instructor Jody Dow has a Bachelor of Science in math and teaches two dual
credit math classes—college algebra and trigonometry and statistical reasoning. He has experience developing curriculum, and teaching at the college level.
Dow said dual credit classes provide a jump-start on college math and may fulfill
the math requirement for certain degrees. He added that statistics is a great introductory course that should provide a solid foundation for many students who will be required to take a subject-specific statistics course in college.
History and English instructor Rich Martin has a Bachelor of Science in
Secondary Education from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and has been teaching for 18 years. He teaches dual credit U.S. History and English 101.
Martin said students who have taken dual credit English have returned to say they
were better prepared for their college experiences and/or tested out of English 102 because of the instruction received at Kamiah High School.
Principal Flerchinger said it is imperative that students with dual credit classes keep up with classwork during this “soft closure” because they will be receiving a grade that will be reflected on both high school and college transcripts. “Students with questions are strongly encouraged to email or call their instructor for assistance,” she added.
Flerchinger expressed pride in the number and quality of dual credit classes
offered at Kamiah High School and the students who are choosing to take advantage of the opportunities.