Frisco ISD is home to 110 high school students who take dual credit classes thanks to a partnership with the University of North Texas, called North Texas NOW!
The four-semester program is project-based, allowing high school students to apply what they’re learning to solve real-world problems. The dual credit curriculum design is intended to engage the students in discovering unique solutions and developing skills valued by today’s employers.
The District’s junior dual credit cohort recently completed their first semester, earning 12 credits each and 720 college credit hours as a group. The 50 dual credit seniors have taken 33 credits so far, earning 1,650 hours of college credit. In the spring, they will each graduate with 42 credits that are transferable to most Texas colleges and universities.
Recently juniors and seniors in the program showcased their learning through interactive poster presentations and digital exhibits in an evening that impressed all attendees.
The North Texas NOW! Fall 21 Education Fair included first-year dual credit students who presented their semester-long research based on the key question, “How can Texas public school better serve students of today?”
Topics included how schools can provide support for students with depression, how schools can provide more accessible accommodations for hearing impaired students, the importance of creativity in schools and several others.
Jet Tran is a first-year dual credit student at Heritage High School who presented on the topic of “Where’s My Shoulder to Cry On: How Can Schools Better Support Students' Mental Health?” along with his groupmates Ava Sharkey (Lone Star), Chandler Reed (Memorial), Alice Ramirez-Garcia (Lone Star) and Toniah Hills (Memorial).
Tran was eager to share his excitement about how project-based learning has opened his eyes to exploring learning in a new way for both him and his classmates.
“The program is challenging, rigorous and rewarding,” Tran said. “There’s no way you can start this program and end it as the same person.
“Yes, I am earning college credit through this valuable experience, but I am also learning more about myself as we research and explore topics that we are truly passionate about.”
Tran looks forward to continuing in the program like his brother, who is in the senior cohort of North Texas NOW!
During the event, senior dual credit students showcased their projects that answered the question, “How do we imagine and create livable, sustainable communities that will thrive in the future?” Groups presented their research on everything from the topics of the gentrification of Deep Ellum to improving public services in Little Elm.
Melody Sedghi is a senior at Wakeland and second-year dual credit student who presented on the topic of “Promoting Paths to Growth: Preserving Historical Roots While Encouraging Necessary Change in Frisco, Texas.” Her group included Jack Pyatt (Independence), Saam Kadivi (Reedy), Madison Vargus (Liberty) and Jenna Grindem (Memorial), who jumped at the opportunity to share their research and experience.
“The dual credit program has been amazing,” Sedghi said. “I love the project-based learning style because it allows us to incorporate everything we are learning in real-world applications on topics that we are interested in learning about.
“Our professors have been amazing, especially Dr. Ashley Reis who has helped guide us in researching our passion topics. We worked all semester on our projects researching, calculating, drawing maps and making sure what we present is not only realistic but sustainable.”
As the North Texas NOW! visitors wandered around the UNT campus at Hall Park from presentation to presentation, it was clear that something special was happening in the room for not only the students but the community.
“What most stood out to me among the groups I visited was the sheer amount of collaboration that these students have been engaging in on topics that they want to learn about,” said Wes Cunningham, chief academic officer. “Each group is made up of students across the District and they are clearly exemplifying everything we want in a future-ready skill set with their visual, interactive presentations.
“They are not only presenting their work, they presenting their passion. All while earning credit for both high school and college at the same time!”
Learn About North Texas NOW!
Dual credit allows students to earn high school and college credit at the same time and is transferable to most Texas colleges and universities. High school students enroll in university classes and, upon successful completion, credits apply to high school graduation and a college degree.
As sophomores, Frisco ISD students who meet the requirements can apply for half-day dual credit classes through UNT at a discounted tuition rate starting their junior year.
The course program is a set pathway that focuses on the 42 credit hours that fulfill the requirements of the Texas Core Curriculum. The full list of courses can be found here. Dual credit courses appear on both high school and university transcripts.
Sophomores interested in joining the North Texas Now! Dual Credit program should apply by January 31, 2022. Learn about enrollment.