Gone are the days when students must wait until college to earn college credits and advanced certifications!

Here at Cook County HS, we have a variety of opportunities for students to start accruing college-level credits right here in Cook County. Those options include:

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: These courses are a great option for students looking to challenge themselves to have a more rigorous course and to help them be more academically challenged. We offer a variety of AP courses, and I believe our AP course list will continue to grow in the coming years. Some of our current AP offerings include: English, World History, American History, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Human Geography, Environmental Science, and the list continues to grow! Compared to just a few years ago, I believe that this has been one of our strengths and a great way we are preparing our students for college and career readiness through a more demanding and rigorous course load.

*Note: Upon completion of each AP course, students will be asked to take an AP test (in late Spring) to demonstrate their understanding of the course. They are graded on a scale of 1-5. If they score a 3 or higher, there is a significant change that they will earn college credits for their work in that class. Individual colleges reserve the right to determine what necessitates an "adequate" score.

College in the Schools (CITS) courses: We have less of these options available than we have of the AP course variety due to various state-level mandates that have made it very difficult to continue to offer a wide variety of CITS offerings. However, we still offer 2 different college level English classes (College Composition and College Literature) during a students' Senior year. We offer American Government as well, which would be worth an additional 3 credits.

Tech 360: This is an online College Program for students interested in pursuing Welding and other technical certificates. Programs are offered in 1- or 2-year tracts and students can achieve either a 16 or 30 credit advanced diploma in a variety of different subjects and topics. We will be having 4 students graduating HS this spring with advanced welding degrees at the same time as they complete their HS Diploma! This is a great opportunity and provides our students with an opportunity to walk into a real-world career upon graduating HS with zero debt.

**Honors Online (HOL): This is a new program that we are happy to run in coordination with Lake Superior College. This opportunity allows students to take college courses free of charge. Since we are a remote community, most PSEO (Post-Secondary Enrollment Option) students typically choose to take college classes and leave the High School setting, but the Honors On-Line Program allows students to continue to participate at their home school districts and still be able to take ONLINE college classes for no cost.

**PSEO: This program also provides students a way to take college classes. Though it is typically used for students to take classes at the college of their choosing, which can be any school in the state of MN, it can be used for online classes as well.

****HOL, Tech 360, and PSEO courses can be taken by anyone who will be entering grades 10-12, per MN State Statute.***

There are different caveats that must be met by students in each grade.

In an effort to provide clear and helpful guidance, below is some language that can be used on district websites to satisfy the obligation to notify parents and students about PSEO. Please note that by March 1 of each year, a district must provide up-to-date information on the district's website and in materials that are distributed to all pupils and their parents in grades eight through grade 11 about the program, including information about enrollment requirements and the ability to earn postsecondary credit. To assist the district in planning, a pupil shall inform the district by May 30 of each year of their intent to enroll in postsecondary courses during the following school year. A pupil is bound by notifying or not notifying the district by May 30.

Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college-level, nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Eleventh and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders may take one career/technical PSEO course. If they earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional PSEO courses.

There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course. Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO. Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses. Schools must provide information to all students in grades 8-11 and their families by March 1, every year. Students must notify their school by May 30 if they want to participate in PSEO for the following school year. For current information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) webpage.

If you have any questions regarding eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact me at my email located at the bottom of the page, click on the link above, or investigate the state statute further at this website: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=124d.09

Additional Information: students from low-income families can apply for transportation assistance. The following is a direct quotation from the Minnesota Department of Education website (http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/CollReadi/... about this particular program:

"Qualifying low-income students will be reimbursed at 15 cents per mile for travel from their homes to the postsecondary institution or from their high schools to the postsecondary institution. Travel is limited to 250 miles per week. (There is an exception to the 250 miles per week limit in the PSEO program if the nearest postsecondary institution is more than 25 miles from the student’s home or high school.)"