SARASOTA- State College of Florida’s District Board of Trustees decided last week to end dual enrollment classes on Manatee and Sarasota high school campuses, and the decision has come as a surprise to both parents and the districts.


“We’re all about providing opportunities for students,” Dr. Bowden said. “And yesterday, quite honestly, we took an opportunity off the table.”


Sarasota Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Bowden says the classes are the first time many students see what college is like.


“Students who attempt college level coursework in high school are much more likely to attempt college after graduating,” Dr. Bowden said. “They meet with some success and say I can do college level coursework.”


State College of Florida says dual enrollment classes will still be offered on their campuses, and online.


“What we discovered was there were some academic quality inconsistencies when the program was administered off site at local high schools,” Jamie Smith said. “Having to do with academic rigor, access to support services, academic resource center, our library.”


They plan to work with high schools on the online option.


“During their study halls they can have access to computers,” Smith said. “So if they have transportation issues or don’t have a computer at home, they can still take dual enrollment classes at their high school just utilizing a technology resource.”


Bridget Mendel’s twin sons are juniors currently taking the classes at Lakewood Ranch High School.


“I was planning on this,” Mendel said. “This was part of my financial college planning.”


She can’t get her sons to campus during the day, and doesn’t like the online option.


“I know I have one of my children that learns much better with an educator in front of them,” Mendel said. “But if this is all we have it’s kind of like SCF is throwing us a bone.”


Dr. Bowden says he doesn’t know that instruction on high school campuses was inconsistent.


“I don’t know that they spent enough time in our classrooms to come to that conclusion.” Dr. Bowden said. “We have invited them on to our campuses, we’ve invited them to interact with our teachers, and I’ve gone so far as to say that I would release our teachers for training.”


He’s disappointed they didn’t try to collaborate on any of the issues.


“If we had a willing partner on the other side of the table we could have dealt with every single concern that they had.”