Huntley takes a step in the right direction with the new dual degree program

Through a partnership with Mchenry County College, HHS students now have the opportunity to graduate with a diploma and an associate degree.

HHS will offer 16 dual credit courses in the next school year

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HHS will offer 16 dual credit courses in the next school year

By Ruhi Gulati

For many Huntley High School students, attending a university after graduation is the goal. However, for students who cannot afford a chance at higher education, it is simply a dream.

Now, with Huntley’s addition of the Dual Degree Program in collaboration with Mchenry County College, students have an opportunity to afford college and achieve their goal of attending a university. This program will allow HHS students to graduate with their highschool diploma and an associate of arts degree. By only paying one-third of college tuition along with the cost of books, fees, and other supplies needed for classes, with Mchenry County College and Huntley High School splitting the remaining tuition, this program can complete Huntley’s dream of offering advanced education at an affordable cost and supplying opportunities for those who cannot afford college.

On Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. central time, Huntley held an informational meeting with over 80 participants on Zoom to discuss a brief overview of the program, eligibility requirements, the implementation of their plan, and their goals for the upcoming years. Speakers principal Marcus Belin, associate director Shelly Kish, and college and career counselor Laura Martens shared components of the program along with their excitement for this new advancement.

“When I mentioned this to students over the past few months, the excitement started to brew amongst them because we know that students are ready, and we are ready to provide that path and that opportunity for them,” principal Belin said.

Sophomores at HHS will be the first class offered to take this opportunity. They will begin taking college classes over the summer into their junior year and can expect that at least six of their classes will be dual credit. Their first two classes in the summer will be introductory classes for one credit each. For the 2022-2023 school year, Huntley will offer 16 dual credit classes and the rest will be completed at MCC. As a result, there will be new additions to the course catalog at HHS.

“Next year, we are adding an Intro to Chemistry course that will be a dual credit course with MCC that will be offered at Huntley High School. We are also adding in next year a dual credit P.E. class, which is pretty exciting,” Shelly Kish said.

Another difference between typical high school education and this new program is how both parents and students will have to adjust to a college-style educational environment.

“Parents are used to signing into Powerschool and being able to follow along with the assignments with lessons and grades on a daily basis, weekly basis, or whatever your system is for helping your student keep track of what is going on in their classes. [They] will still be able to do that with dual credit classes that are taught here at Huntley High School by our instructors, but for the classes that are taught at MCC by MCC instructors, that is not an option,” Laura Martens said.

Offering college-level courses at Huntley is one thing, but offering a college degree at HHS brings the school to a whole new level. By providing students with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, Huntley is taking a step in the right direction.