By JACOB LOPEZ
In a recent San Benito CISD Board of Trustees meeting, district officials approved a revision to board policy EIC (Local).
The approval of the policy revision will now allow credits received in the dual enrollment and advanced placement (AP) programs to be of equal value for students in ninth and 10th grade.
Board trustee Yliana González said, “Any changes to the dual enrollment and AP, as far as how it’s going to be weighted, or how it’s going to be implemented, will affect, specifically … ninth and 10th grade.”
Meanwhile, students in grades 11 and 12 will not be affected by the policy.
In its original form, EIC (Local) meant that dual enrollment courses would be weighed equally with AP.
Dual enrollment courses are college-level courses that give students college credit so they enter post-secondary schools with credits, often eliminating the need for them to take those courses after they graduate from high school.
The concern raised by trustees was that some students who were in their third and fourth year of high school, with an understanding of how the previous policy worked, often participate in extracurricular activities or hold after-school jobs – thus making it difficult to participate in dual enrollment classes. The issue arises when those courses are weighed in a way that affects student GPA, which would have influenced student ranking.
The purpose of limiting EIC (Local) to ninth and 10th graders is to ensure that the 11th and 12th grade students who planned their courses based on the active policies at the time they signed up for their classes won’t be affected.
Many of the students are also participating in extracurricular activities with their sights set on a scholarship.
“We don’t want to send out the message … where we don’t want them to participate in extracurricular,” said González, adding that the board won’t discourage students “from obtaining scholarships simply because they want to take advantage of the dual enrollment opportunities in the evening.”
She also cited football and band members, both of whom represent the district, as students the school doesn’t want to discourage from their extracurricular activities.
Board trustee Angel Mendez said, “Anytime policy changes it will affect everybody.”
Mendez said that the goal of dual enrollment and AP is to advance in college courses.
“… AP classes were weighted higher than a dual enrollment class,” said Mendez.
“My question was ‘why is dual enrollment less on the GPA than the AP,’” explained Mendez of the dialogue presented at a prior meeting in which the board discussed Policy EIC (Local).
“My question is: Should we keep it that way [AP weighted more than dual enrollment], or should we embrace everything, and allow a bigger impact on the probability of students moving up on their GPA or pursuing a college career?”
Both members of the board did explain that policies can be revised based on what it votes as being in the students’ best interests.