This Wisconsin student earned her high school diploma and an associate degree in the same year. How’d she do it?

Samantha West:

Thanks to a Fox Valley Technical College program called Start College Now, Pingel was able to get a head start on her college education. The program is designed to give high school students a taste of higher education by simultaneously earning high school and college credit.

But it’d be safe to say Pingel got more than just a taste of college. On Friday, she’ll graduate from FVTC with an associate degree in business management — just six months after she graduated from Chilton High School, and completely debt-free.

“It almost doesn’t feel real. Less than six months ago, I was having a graduation party for my high school graduation,” Pingel said. “Now we’re talking about celebrating my college graduation and I’m only 18 years old.” 

While it’s currently rare to see a student graduate as quickly as Pingel, technical college officials say it won’t stay that way for much longer, given that students are encouraged to take as many dual-credit and Advanced Placement courses as they can.

“It’s starting to get to be sort of the goal,” said Mary Hansen, director of FVTC’s office of K-12 Partnerships.

The college currently has dual-credit partnerships at 50 high schools and offers about 500 dual-credit courses every year. 

Dual credit courses are modeled after real college classes and are taught in high schools and by high school teachers, who are trained by the college. The Start College Now program, on the other hand, allows high school students to take real college classes that also count as high school credit.

I wonder what, if anything Madison’s taxpayer supported $20K/student K-12 system might offer?

Madison’s administration, has, in the past resisted credit for non District courses.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.