Texas A&M University-Commerce and Commerce ISD are partnered for an initiative to provide area high school freshmen with the opportunity to take up to 36 hours of dual-credit classes, tuition free, through the Pride Prep Academy. The 2016-2017 academic year is the initiate term for this project. Currently, of the 14 students enrolled in U.S. History through Pride Prep, 12 are students from Commerce High School. Parents from Lone Oak and Boles drive their children to the 7:35 a.m. class three days a week and hurry them to their home campus 45 minutes later.
CHS teacher Matt Brewer is the instructor for the dual-credit class and an esteemed alumnus from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He says the expectations for the freshman are the same as for juniors and seniors taking those dual-credit courses he teaches. “These students are some of our top students. They took Algebra I in the eighth grade. They are ready for the rigor required.”
Rishi Nippani, a CHS student, said the class was challenging, but exciting. Maggie Robinson said, “We use technology a lot in this class. We get our assignments and we turn them in through our devices.” The students agreed that more students would want to participate in the Pride Prep Academy as soon as they could. Previous barriers, such as the inability to participate in both band and the Pride Prep Academy, have been removed to make the program more accessible to students.
Brewer said that he and his class represent the pilot program and they want to set a good example so that this opportunity continues for even more students. When asked if the students felt like trailblazers or guinea pigs, Nippani said he felt like “a trailblazing guinea pig.”
Commerce Independent School District pays for the tuition of Commerce High School students. Other districts may choose to pay for their students to attend as well.
Texas A&M University-Commerce President Ray Keck visited the Pride Prep Academy to meet with students earlier this month.