Huskies In the High School is celebrating 25 years of introducing Minnesota students to college by taking a St. Cloud State University class while studying at their high school.
The program started in 1996 as Senior to Sophomore. In recognition of the evolution of the program, the opportunities it provides, and the ties students make to St. Cloud State, the program has become Huskies in the High School.
In the program students take St. Cloud State courses with high school teachers on their high schools campuses. The teachers are partnered with St. Cloud State faculty to make sure their curriculum and standards match the rigor of on-campus classes. Teachers in the program have advanced training in their class subject and are required by state law to have graduate-level credits or degrees in the discipline. Many have specialized master’s degrees.
The program helps high school students make the transition to college by introducing them to college-level work in a familiar setting while they simultaneously earn credit toward their high school graduation requirements. They may also visit campus to engage with St. Cloud State faculty and learn about the admissions process.
St. Cloud Tech High School teacher Leanne Klett ’92 teaches Spanish through Huskies in the High School. Each year Spanish professor Dr. Luz Triana-Echeverría works with Klett and her students both at Tech and on the St. Cloud State campus.
“When Luz comes to our high school, she will teach a lesson, interact with the students and connect with them, and then hold a question and answer session. I love and appreciate that she does this all in Spanish,” Klett said. “It really builds their confidence for understanding a native speaker and using what they are learning.”
Triana-Echeverría also invites Klett’s students to sit in on one of her classes on campus. The students enjoy that experience and again are proud of their abilities to understand and be successful in a college level course, Klett said.
Huskies in the High School was designed for students who wanted to participate in college classes as high school students, but had too many activities or lived too far from a college or university to be able to come to campus for classes. It is made possible by the Minnesota Post-Secondary Enrollment Option Act.
The program started with just one Chemistry class at Tech High School in St. Cloud. Today more than 3,000 students participate in Huskies in the High School with students studying at 45 schools in 24 subjects, and, in all, more than 40,000 students have participated in the program since it began.
The program continues to make a difference and be a game-changer for students, said Kirby Meiners, who teaches a Huskies in the High School Chemistry class at Prior Lake High School.
“While the class is challenging, I think a lot of them walk away really feeling like they have a better handle on the expectations of a college class and have increased confidence in their ability to handle those challenges,” he said. “The other aspect that the students love, but were unable to do this year, is the trip to campus
to perform a lab. They repeatedly tell me how much they enjoy the opportunity to experience a college-level laboratory environment. Interacting with both the professor and a TA really helps drive home to them that they are, in fact, college students.”
Many Huskies in the High School teachers are alumni and the program is an opportunity to reconnect with their alma mater and give back in new ways.