Expanding Horizons: Dual Enrollment with The Potter's House
July 2, 2021
The Potter's House Christian School and Kuyper College have long held similar visions for educating the next generation. Both schools value equipping students with a biblical foundation for serving God and impacting the world for His kingdom. Both also know the importance of making this accessible to students of all backgrounds. These shared values have led The Potter's House and Kuyper to create a dual enrollment program, expanding over the next several years. Alf Clark, Principal of The Potter's House High School, said, "It started with a dream of offering diverse options to our diverse student body. That could mean a four-year college, an associate's degree program, entering the workforce, mission work, or even a gap year."
Creating new possibilities through dual enrollment allows Kuyper to serve the predominately Hispanic community around The Potter's House. Miles Colago, Assistant Superintendent, said, "One of the program's major goals is to attract more students from the neighborhood. The whole reason The Potter's House started was to be in community with, live with, and serve the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. We wanted to better serve our Hispanic students by giving them access to Christ-centered higher education." Upon completion of high school, dual enrollment students will be able to transition to Kuyper full-time, so the program has the potential to reach those who might not have otherwise considered attending.
The Kuyper program provides a thorough introduction to the business leadership degree. Professors travel to The Potter's House to teach in the classrooms where students are used to learning their high school material. Currently, one Kuyper course is available each year. Over the next two years, this will expand to include two courses each semester. After that, the program will grow to four Kuyper courses each semester. If students begin in their sophomore year, they could finish up to eight courses over their high school career, earning them nearly a year's worth of college credit by the time they graduate.
Those in the program have the opportunity to learn through unique, hands-on experience. Kuyper professors often bring in speakers and take their classes on field trips to move beyond the realm of pure concepts and ideas. "They bring the textbooks to life by putting flesh and blood examples in front of the kids. They also take them out of the classroom and into the community, so they can put their feet where the things they are learning about are happening," said Mr. Clark.
One of the most important benefits of dual enrollment with Kuyper is countering false narratives surrounding higher education. Some students have come to believe that college would be too difficult or that they would not be able to keep up with the pace of the classes. However, when they take college-level courses in the familiar setting of high school, they discover new skills and capabilities. "They learn to use their voices for self-advocacy. They learn time management. Being in a college course and getting familiar with it helps their future college experience," Mr. Clark noted.
The dual enrollment program opens up many exciting options for high school students. Wherever they choose to take their new knowledge and experiences, they will do so with a solid, Christ-centered foundation.