For the first time in its history, Waxahachie High School will expand its college credit opportunities, via Navarro College, to include freshman and sophomores. This new initiative comes as a result of the district’s commitment to increase college readiness for all students.

In addition to including freshman and sophomores, the district will also expand its dual credit offerings at WHS to include two new electives that are recognized as transferable to Texas public colleges and universities. These electives include a physical education class and the college freshman orientation class, which is a predictor for college success and completion.

The new course offerings will be available for all 9-12 WHS students.

Providing WHS freshman and sophomores the opportunity to enroll in college courses at such a young age allows for early exposure to college level rigor and challenges. By beginning college level work as a freshman, students will also have additional time to become “core complete” in those classes which are required at the collegiate level regardless of major – English, history, math, science – along with the opportunity to continue working towards their associates degree if they so choose.

The new classes, physical education and college orientation, will be offered during Waxahachie High School’s new block lunch schedule that was adopted last spring. Students will be able to eat lunch and take an extra class that will give them college credit without having to come before or after school.

Perhaps the most exciting announcement is that these two courses will be tuition-free as the district will pick up the cost for its students.

Students wishing to take other college level class offerings have the opportunity for tuition assistance through the dual credit scholarship established by the Education Foundation for Waxahachie ISD and the Brilliance Scholarship established by Navarro College.

A spokesperson for the Waxahachie Independent School District stated in a press release that the importance of preparing students to be college ready at a young age is vital. Research has shown that those students who are exposed to college level rigor sooner rather than later have a much more successful transition from secondary to postsecondary education. =Additionally, students are able to develop key cognitive strategies, have the ability to absorb and comprehend volumes of information, and begin to take ownership of their learning – all of which are required at the collegiate level. Other benefits include a higher level of postsecondary awareness, a better understanding of the costs associated with attending college, and the ability to develop a plan for college attendance and success.

The 2013-2014 academic year is a mere start to the district’s overall pledge to intensify college readiness for all students, the district stated in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon. Waxahachie ISD plans to continue to expand its dual credit offerings for all 9-12 grade students in 2014 with additional elective courses in technology applications, foreign language, and speech.

“By providing students with early access to college level opportunities and academic rigor, we are ensuring our students have the skills and knowledge necessary for a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education,” said David S. Truitt, Waxahachie ISD Interim Superintendent. “We want colleges and universities to know that when they hear the name Waxahachie ISD that our students are academically prepared. Waxahachie ISD is committed to becoming a premier college and career ready school district that prepares its students for success in the 21st century.”