Cherokee Trail tops the list of Colorado public high schools with the highest number students participating in Concurrent Enrollment to earn college credit while in still in high school for the fourth consecutive year.
Overland and Grandview high schools placed fourth and fifth respectively. Overall, the Cherry Creek School District ranked fourth statewide in the number of students participating in the program, according a report released by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
Cherokee Trail High School Principal Kim Rauh credits the school's high number of students enrolled in the program to its focus on college and career readiness.
"We talk about Concurrent Enrollment as a viable path to college along with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes," Rauh said. "It's another option that opens the door for more students."
Overland High School Principal Leon Lundie said the program helps students who might not otherwise consider college get a foot in the door.
"Concurrent Enrollment has been a boon for us," Lundie said. "Once kids are enrolled, they are more likely to continue after graduation."
Classes are taught at the high school by teachers who are certified to teach college level classes in partnership with both two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Overall, 92% of students taking the classes pass to earn college credit.
Grandview High School Principal Sarah Grobbel said the credits are accepted at all Colorado colleges and can save families thousands of dollars in college tuition. Many students earn as much as a year's worth of college credit by the time they graduate high school, she said.
"At a time when the cost of higher education keeps rising, the credits earned in high school could make the difference for students' ability to finish their degrees," she said. "It enables them to start their careers with less student loan debt."
All of the high schools in the Cherry Creek School District offer students the opportunity to earn college credit though Advanced Placement classes. Smoky Hill High School also participates in the International Baccalaureate Program.