Bill would allow middle school students to earn high school pts - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Bill would allow middle school students to earn high school credits

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A new bill gives high achievers a little extra push in the classroom. The legislation would let middle school students receive credit for high school courses, if they're ready. One lawmaker's officer says there's no law saying you cannot do this. The bill would just get it in writing.  However, the bill's author says the legislation is needed because one school district was told it could not let students get credit. We visited an Eau Claire middle school that already allows it. 

"I think it's great, because we do it on a smaller scale right now," said Mike Erickson, South Middle School Principal.

At south middle school in Eau Claire, dozens of students who have demonstrated a higher level of learning are moving on; literally. They're taking classes at the local high schools to earn credit. A new bill would make that a possibility for all schools across the state.

"It sets the kids up for post-secondary success because they're that much further ahead going into high school. Then they can get done with high school earlier possibly, and start taking some post-secondary credits," said Erickson.

Teachers say the idea helps keeps kids engaged.

"Sometimes you have gifted kids in the class and you don't let them advance, it's very difficult for them because they are done, they already understand what's going on," said Christina Narciso, a Spanish teacher at South Middle School.

Students we talked to embrace the challenge.

"Sure I feel the pressure, but I feel that I have amazing teachers, and they'll help me get through any challenges that I have," said Devany Rindy, an 8th grader currently taking Geometry and Biology for high school credits.

And they know that hard work here eventually pays off.

"I feel like it's giving me more opportunities to succeed now, so that way I can succeed when I'm older too. And it's all about college, what I do now helps me when I'm older," Rindy said.

Plus, allowing middle school kids to challenge themselves while not directly skipping a grade means students can move at more of their own pace.

"They can be socially still with their friends at their grade level. It's a lot different than all of your classes for high school credit, so maybe its sort of a good transition going into high school to do that," Erickson added.

Right now, South Middle School has more than 40 students taking a geometry course for high school credit. The school district is hoping to expand offerings to include other classes such as foreign languages.

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