LAKEVIEW — Lake View High School students may soon be able to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree—and transfer those college credits straight to DePaul.
The high school is discussing a partnership with DePaul University for students to participate in a program where DePaul advisers help community college students determine which classes will transfer to DePaul's four-year degree, according to STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, program coordinator Jennifer Sutton and DePaul representatives.
But Lake View students would be starting the program as juniors instead of after graduation.
"It will be just as if they were taking courses as a freshman at DePaul," said Lois Bishop, DePaul's Director of Community Partnerships. "They will be building an academic reputation to get them to be admissable."
The program, DePaul Admission Partnership Program, or DAPP, is already in place at more than a dozen city colleges for students pursuing their associate's degree. Lake View's potential participation as DAPP's first high school partnership represents the school's larger push to make its new STEM program focused on real world preparedness.
Juniors will be able to take college credit courses at Lake View, taught by teachers who will be certified to teach the classes, Sutton said. Enrolled students would automatically get an adviser from DePaul to help determine what classes they need to pursue intended college majors as part of the DAPP program.
Students will need a minimum 2.5 GPA, an ACT reading score of 19 and an ACT math score of 21 to qualify for college credit courses, Sutton said.
"If you're interested in the medical field, then what kind of classes should you be taking in high school to meet your goal?" Sutton said, offering an example of potential student needs. "DePaul would help them with those decisions.
"What’s exciting about that is they’re coming from the perspective of the university. They’re the ones making the decisions."
The credits will be transferrable to DePaul, Bishop said, but whether other four-year universities will accept the courses depends on the school.
Currently, only the 368 freshman at the school are part of Lake View's STEM program, Sutton said. Sutton has been working with Principal Lilith Werner, the city and partners like DePaul and Microsoft to develop the program.
A catalog of potential classes to be offered can be found here.
Other pushes for real world preparedness include required computer science classes and mentorships from professionals. Freshmen that asked to participate in the mentorships were matched up with STEM professionals from Microsoft, consulting firm Accenture, Chase Bank and others, Sutton said.
Mentors and students must touch base twice a month for a "workplace learning experience," said Ellen Estrada, Microsoft's point person for the STEM program, formerly a principal at Walter Payton College Prep. Overall, it's to show what that STEM can be practical and approachable.
"We’re trying to expand student’s visions of what people are doing with their education," Estrada said.