October 21, 2020
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By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

This year, Muleshoe High School is expanding the opportunities for high school students to earn college credits and prepare for ACT, SAT and TSI tests through the Muleshoe Acceleration and Collegiate Academy (MACA).
Qualified students in grades 9-12 will have an opportunity to take courses on the Muleshoe campus and through South Plains College.
“MHS has offered dual credit classes in the past, but we are working to improve the location and atmosphere or where students complete their work as well as offering more dual credit options to students,” said Principal Cindy Bessire. “MHS currently has five teachers on campus that are certified to teach specific dual credit classes. The other dual credit classes are taught by professors at colleges or universities.”
MHS is currently offering English, College Algebra, Statistical Methods, College Trig, Special Populations, Contemporary Math, Chemistry, Government, and Principles in Education and Training as dual credit classes taught by on-campus teachers. Students may enroll in other dual credit classes as they choose through the specific college.
“In addition to the dual credit courses taught here on the MHS campus by MHS teachers, we have about 30 dual credit students who are in the Academy each day taking one or more of the following courses: Art Appreciation, Psychology, US History, Health & Wellness, Public Speaking, Principles of Business and Intro to Ag Economics,” said April Smith, Academy Advisor.
Academy requirements include current and past enrollment in core honors courses, overall GPA of 3.5, and acceptable discipline and attendance records. Interested students must submit an application, which is reviewed to ensure that students meet the criteria to be accepted into the program. They must also meet South Plains College Dual Credit requirements set forth by the college.
MHS provides each student with a Chromebook to use for the courses, and all MHS courses, and each student is expected to obtain the necessary textbooks for each course.
Students are expected to pay tuition for the dual credit classes. Finishing courses at the Academy before enrolling at college could represent significant savings for college-bound students.
“Tuition and fees only for 30 credit hours at an SPC campus is up to $4,480. Dual credit hours are $1,800,” said Suzanne King, MHS CTE Director.
“Most associate’s degrees are a total of about 60 or 62 hours,” Smith added.
“MHS faculty members are providing a rigorous curriculum for all students, but for students in honor and dual credit classes, expectations are even higher in order to prepare students for their future in a college setting,” Bessire said.
While performance expectations are higher, the value of dual credit courses is also higher.
“Honor and dual credit classes are weighted higher when calculating GPA,” Bessire said. “So a student that completes an honor or dual credit class has the opportunity to be ranked higher in the class, but this all depends on the grade earned and other students also participating in honors and dual credit classes.”
“All Dual Credit grades count towards student GPA as honors credit, which are weighted and help students’ class rank. College Transition is not weighted, but is a state credit,” King said.
Students who go on to other colleges can expect that their credits will transfer.
“South Plains College makes every effort to ensure that courses taught by the college are fully transferable to other accredited colleges and universities,” King said. “The State of Texas has developed a common course numbering system for all courses. These course numbers are used in identifying courses that transfer freely among public community colleges and universities in Texas. Students should consult with a faculty adviser when selecting courses for transfer to another institution.”
“The MHS Student Service Coordinator works very closely with the students and parents to ensure that students are taking classes that will be beneficial in their future and aligned to earning a college degree,” Bessire said.
The Core Beliefs of the Muleshoe High School and Collegiate Academy are as follows:
Responsibility: Students and their families have a vested interest in learning.
Perseverance: Students strive for excellence in all endeavors no matter how challenging the task.
Value: Students understand their worth and produce quality work that represents their true potential.
“Muleshoe Acceleration and Collegiate Academy came about because of the hard work of Cindy Bessire, Suzanne King and Assistant Superintendent Dani Heathington,” Smith said. “I am very thankful and fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the Academy and to support our current and future MHS students in achieving their academic goals.”
“MHS is very excited to offer this opportunity to our students. We believe this will assist the college bound student in preparing academically for his or her future,” Bessire said.
“The Academy is many years in the making, and we are so excited to see it come to fruition,” King said. “We are thankful to MISD administration and school board for being willing to take on one more new thing in the craziness of 2020. We know that the individualized learning system of the Academy will benefit students for years to come. We cannot wait to see it grow and see the students succeed after high school due in part to The Academy.”

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