UND offers its first ever college credit class for Grand Forks high school students – Grand Forks Herald | #education | #technology | #training

GRAND FORKS — For the first time ever, UND is offering a dual-credit course at a Grand Forks high school.

What started off as “Aviation 1” at Red River High School is now called “Aviation 105,” and students who enroll in the technical education elective will receive college credit upon completing the course. UND will likely be adding other dual credit courses, mostly in aviation, as Grand Forks Public Schools administrators look to develop dual-credit courses that can be housed in the planned

Career Impact Academy.

“It’s a class available to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and my goal is to teach them about all aspects of aviation,” Associate Professor Leslie Martin told UND Today. “A lot of them come in thinking, ‘I want to be a pilot,’ which is great, and I do talk a lot about flight training. We practice maneuvers on simulators and talk about principles of flight. But I really just want them to have a fun class where they’re learning about the whole industry.”

According to UND Today, Martin has been teaching aviation at the high school level since 2014, along with her role as a professor at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Martin was teaching professional development classes at UND for math and science teachers on how to include aviation topics in their courses. Eric Ripley, executive director for career and technical education at Grand Forks Public Schools, looked in on one of those classes and spoke with her about the dual-credit course.

Ripley said offering an aviation elective at Red River High School was a way to expand career and technical education opportunities for local students. When the elective was created, Bismarck was the only other city in the state with a high school aviation course.

“We certainly felt that with UND, Grand Forks Air Force Base and even partners on the Minnesota side at Northland Community & Technical College, the presence of aviation would make a lot of sense for Grand Forks, too,” Ripley said.

With the transformation of the course into Aviation 105, students now can earn college credit. The course was put on offer at Red River at the beginning of the spring semester.

Offering college-level courses at high schools requires approval. Universities in the North Dakota University System have to follow state policies about what courses they can teach, so as not to interfere with other state schools. UND can teach aviation-related dual-credit courses — courses well within the university’s wheelhouse — and work is also ongoing on an American Indian Studies course, as UND is the only university in the state to offer that major.

Lake Region State College in Devils Lake teaches the bulk of dual-credit courses, with offerings including college composition and computer courses, as well as others.

For the moment, the dual-credit aviation course is housed at Red River, but the course is open to any eligible Grand Forks high school student that is interested in taking it. Ripley said that presents some logistical problems for students — a Central High School student needs to go to Red River to take the course — but the program will likely be relocated to the Career Impact Academy, which is set to open by the fall of 2024.

Other cross-campus high school courses will also be relocated to the new center as well, such as the automotive course at Red River, and graphic arts, which is on offer at Central. Ripley said students from the school where the program is housed tend to enroll in those courses, though there are some crossover students. Having them all under one roof will provide equal access.

Like dominoes falling, Ripley hopes to add other dual-credit courses to the career and technical education center. He said he hopes to grow the aviation-related programs by adding an unmanned aerial systems course. Those courses will complement the dual-credit offerings GFPS currently has in place with Lake Region, including an information technology and a medical careers pathway.

“Our hope is to have dual-credit opportunities in every career pathway, whether that’s with Lake Region State College, Northland Community & Technical College or UND,” he said.

Partnering with UND on its first ever dual credit course is a big first step in that direction.

“This is significant,” Ripley said. “This is our first dual-credit agreement that we’ve had with the University of North Dakota, and we’re excited about that.”

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