MTSU, Rockvale High dual enrollment agreement
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and Rockvale High School Principal Steve Luker smile as they sign documents cementing the dual enrollment partnership Thursday, March 5, at the first-year high school in Rockvale, Tenn. Forty-five students are taking dual enrollment classes this semester and the number should more than double in 2020-21. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU and first-year Rockvale High School signed a partnership agreement Thursday, March 5, that will encourage the university and Rockvale to create additional dual enrollment opportunities for high school students.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Rockvale Principal Steve Luker, an MTSU alumnus, signed the agreement with Rockets’ students, faculty and staff and MTSU staff and student teachers present.

The dual enrollment partnership allows Rockvale students to enroll in MTSU courses taught on-site at their school or on the MTSU campus while they are still enrolled in their secondary school, and earn credit from both institutions. Dual enrollment falls under the MTSU University College.

MTSU already has continuing dual enrollment partnerships with Blackman, Central Magnet, Riverdale, Siegel, Stewarts Creek and Oakland — all Rutherford County high schools.

“Keep stretching and challenging yourself,” Luker told nearly 40 dual enrollment students this semester at Rockvale, which has a Year 1 enrollment of 1,750 that will grow to 2,200 for the 2020-21 academic year. He and his staff met with MTSU officials a year ago to create “an early post-secondary opportunity for our students to get a head start on academically.”

McPhee told those assembled in the school library how he is so impressed with Rockvale’s dual enrollment program, what a beautiful school they have and how the faculty and administration “are doing a wonderful job of educating the best and brightest” at their school.” He was joined by Provost Mark Byrnes and Division of Student Affairs leaders at the event.

“You are a step ahead of your peers,” McPhee added. “This gives you a greater chance of success. … You will graduate early and be first in line to get top jobs.”

Luker and McPhee told the students about the variety of opportunities awaiting them at MTSU. Luker said they “can get a quality education and not leave this county.”

Rockvale-MTSU dual enrollment students Jaidyn Noel of Murfreesboro and Ethan Conrad of Rockvale are among those benefiting from the program. Both have been accepted to attend MTSU.

Noel, 17, who has a 4.0 GPA and 31 ACT qualifying her for a guaranteed Trustee Scholarship ($5,000 per year), has an A now in psychology and made an A in her algebra class last fall on the MTSU campus. “The (MTSU) professors make sure you get your work in on time and the campus is easy to navigate,” she said.

Conrad, 17, has been making A’s and B’s in psychology this semester and economics and speech classes he took in the fall. “I like the resources MTSU gives you,” he said. His mother, Heather Conrad, helps process military-centered students in the MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.

Rockvale students can take MTSU dual enrollment courses in economics, English, communications, history and math. Chemistry will be added in this fall. Forty-five students have registered to take the dual enrollment math course in the fall.

Seven MTSU student teachers in the secondary education Residency I program led by Womack Educational Leadership associate professor Heather Dillard attended the announcement.

MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

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