By Todd Martin
One of the many lessons that Killeen ISD and Central Texas College instructors are learning together is how to occupy high school students back from the semester break two weeks before the college semester starts.
Early College High School Assistant Principal Anna Glasgow praised CTC professors and other staff members for jumping at the chance to provide enrichment courses during the first two weeks in KISD’s new semester.
The Killeen ISD Early College High School is in its third year. The school’s oldest students are now high school juniors. They take high school classes in the Shoemaker Building on the CTC campus and take college courses throughout the rest of the campus.
The students are on track to earn their high school diploma and an associate’s degree in 2019.
For the first two weeks of the new KISD semester, most of the students are taking just their high school classes while their traditional college peers remain on break until January 16.
But, to fill the gap productively, CTC staff members are offering enrichment classes to the high school/college students addressing productive skills for academics and for life.
The KISD students chose from a variety of options including personal budgeting, safety on campus, building self-esteem and living with “grit,” as well as some academic offerings like history and psychology.
“We went to (CTC leaders) and said ‘how do we do this?’ We want to make their time worthwhile,” Glasgow said. “We are impressed. This is their break and they have come in on their own time.”
Early College High School junior Hanah Tyler, like many of her peers, juggles a part-time job with her high school and college courses and an interest in community theater.
“When I have free time, it’s really weird,” she said, explaining that she appreciated the chance to fill in the rare gaps in her schedule.
During the two-week period before the start of college classes, she chose to take short courses in self-esteem building, self-presentation and a history preparation course.
In one class, Tyler said, the instructor provided a confidence test and gave tips on how to make a positive impression. Another course, she said, provided help with college-level history.
“They all wanted to be here,” she said of the CTC instructors. “They were enthusiastic.”
One instructor, CTC Police Chief Mary Wheeler, said she was doing her regular job, providing a safety briefing to students. She showed a video and explained to students the logistics of lockdowns and rules that prohibit drugs and alcohol on campus.
Early College High School junior, Kamani Semien, said he took a class called “Get Gritty With It,” that addressed working hard and sticking to a task.
He also took classes to help prepare for a psychology course and an economics course and learned strategies such as avoiding the pitfalls of plagiarism when writing a paper.
His favorite, though, was probably a PE course that included bicycling, weight lifting, basketball and volleyball.
“I think it was kind of them to do that for us,” Semien said. “They didn’t have to come back to work, but it helped us use our time productively.”
January 11, 2018