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PSJA students getting ahead through Summer Dual Enrollment Courses

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Pharr, Texas – At the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District, all high school students have the opportunity to take college classes during the school year. However, during the summer months, PSJA also provides access to Dual Enrollment courses from South Texas College (STC), the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and Texas State Technical College (TSTC).

Students are provided with transportation if they choose to take classes at the college campuses, or they can also take them in-house at PSJA Early College High School in San Juan where they are offered about 100 diverse courses in English, Spanish, Accounting, Business, Criminal Justice, History, Computer Science, Art, Government, Math, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Speech, Electrician Technology, Drawing and Automotive Technology.

“About four years ago, we consolidated the summer dual enrollment program. So now all of the teachers and students district-wide go to PSJA High” says Jessica Salinas, the district’s College Readiness Coordinator. “Almost 1,100 students are going, and a lot of students did classes independently.”

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PSJA students taking the initiative to continue going to school during the summer challenge themselves to a new level of rigor. Dual credit instructors, Ella Reyes and Cynthia Dunzz find that dual enrollment students are more dedicated during the summer.

“They’re here because they want to get advanced,” said Dunzz, a Pre-Calculus instructor for STC and PSJA High.

The same course material taught in a 16-week semester is squeezed into 5 weeks, so students must rise to the challenge.

“If they’re absent one day, it’s kind of like missing one whole week of school,” said Dunzz.

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Reyes, Biology instructor for STC and PSJA High, says “It gives them the opportunity to push forward. It’s an experience. They need to be prepared that every day they’re going to go home and work on something because we don’t have any downtime. After the five weeks, it’s rewarding.”

Whether it is working toward an Associate Degree through the Dual Credit (DC) courses at PSJA, or a Certification through Career and Technical Education (CTE), PSJA students are working hard to meet their goals.

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