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High school students take their studies to the next level

Three mornings a week this past fall, Chris Mahan, math professor at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, taught Calculus II.

However, 20 of his students had not even graduated from high school yet. In fact, they were not even on the campus for the class.

Thirteen students from Eureka High and seven students from Lafayette High  accessed Mahan’s classroom via an internet connection. The students asked questions and contributed to class discussions via the computer.

The innovative partnership between the high schools and St. Louis Community College allows high school students who are gifted in math to continue their studies.

“Calculus II was the next appropriate class for me to take following AP Calculus. I didn’t want my math skills to stagnate or regress,” explained Eureka student Makoto Sullivan.

Fellow student Blake Ruprecht agreed.

“It was the next option in my math career,” he said. “I didn’t want to waste a year doing nothing.”

The concept of “dual enrollment” is not new; however, Mahan’s calculus class is the only STLCC class that Rockwood students take “virtually” as a group from their own high schools.

At Eureka, the students are in a computer lab together, and each student individually logs on to the learning platform. At Lafayette, a moderator logs on to the learning platform on behalf of the entire class.

In addition to college credit, students gain insight to the similarities and differences between high school and college courses without having to leave their high school campuses.

“I get to know what a college Calculus II class is like and gain knowledge before I go to college. I also get to see what a college professor is like and how communicating with them outside of class works,” Jared Lovemark said.

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