Monday, October 2, 2023

GISD board approves dual credit partnership with Tarrant County College


Granbury ISD will soon have a new college partner for dual credit classes that will potentially offer students more courses and will also be a less expensive option overall for Hood County parents.

A unanimous decision was made during Monday night’s school board meeting to dissolve the current dual credit agreement with Weatherford College and to approve a dual credit partnership with Tarrant County College.

“Six weeks ago, we were notified by Weatherford College that the price for a three-hour course was going up to $456,” Assistant Superintendent Jimmy Dawson said during the meeting. “So, Mr. (Todd) Gibson, Mr. (Jeremy) Ross and myself did an informal evaluation and investigation just to see what other school districts were doing and who they were using.”

The three met via Zoom with administrators from McMurry Dual Credit Academy, Hill College, Tarrant County College, and Cisco Community College.

"McMurry Dual Credit Academy was $200 for a three-hour course, Tarrant County was $192, Hill College was $363, and Cisco Community College was $210,” Dawson said. “That really spurred us to say ‘Wow, the same services for a much less price,’ and we want to be fiscally responsible for our families.”

A review panel consisting of a parent and three dual credit teachers — Jana Reid, Jacqui Bradshaw, and Cindy Leatherman — was formed to discuss the various dual credit options.

“We learned a lot through the process,” Dawson said. “We deliberated several times, both through face-to-face and then through an email system and we came up with pros and cons.”

The pros with Tarrant County College, he said, included a once-a-month department chair meeting and an assigned liaison to assist with questions.

"They (TCC) offer the highest compensation for the teachers, and they have the lowest price per course for our students and families,” Dawson explained. “They do provide an online tutorial opportunity for our students, they provide a TSI exam online, and they have online support to become Core Complete. There's just more opportunities for students through Tarrant County College.”

He said one specific question had already been asked regarding whether Tarrant County College would offer GISD the same dual credit courses as Weatherford College does currently.

The short answer to that question, he said, is yes.

"We'll get the same courses, but the other option on that is possibly a lot more offerings,” he said. “Note, this is just the academic side. We'll continue with the technical side with Weatherford College at this time but knowing that there's a lot to offer through Tarrant County College through the technical side as well.”

Dawson said it is his recommendation that the district provides a 30-day notice to Weatherford College notifying them of their intent to terminate the current memorandum of understanding (MOU).

He also recommended that the school board provide GISD Superintendent Jeremy Glenn with the authority to execute an agreement with Tarrant County College for dual credit academic courses through Granbury High School.

"It's a passion of mine,” Glenn said of dual credit during the board meeting. “AP is great. We have a lot of great course offerings through CTE, but when we talk about dual credit, we're talking about kids. They're going to leave us and they're going to go pursue that four-year degree, and research shows that if a student takes 23 hours of dual credit coursework, they're 50% more likely to get their four-year degree.”

Glenn added that he’s talked with students who attended Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, and Baylor University, and they all said they were overly prepared for college, thanks to the dual credit courses they took in high school.

“In addition to that, when we talked about kids that are Core Complete, you're talking about the opportunity to knock off a full year of college for students,” Glenn said. "At Texas A&M, that's $25,000 to $30,000, and so being able to take 10 classes — which is 30 hours at $192 a class — you're talking about less than a $2,000 investment in something that is essentially a $25,000 return or more. I feel like this is a good opportunity to switch.

“Weatherford College has been a tremendous partner, but now it's just about value for our students. At the price point we were originally given, which was over $450 for a class, it was just turning kids away; parents couldn't afford that, so this brings it back to something that's more affordable.”


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