Eighth grade students in McDuffie County continue to take advantage of a unique opportunity by earning high school credits during each school year. This paves the way for completion of multiple career pathways as well as earning college credits before graduating from Thomson High School. Last year, a total of 273 students at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School earned 658 credits toward their diplomas, not only in elective classes like band, chorus, agriculture, business, health, and personal fitness, but also in core classes like algebra, physical science, literature, and Georgia history.
This local program allows students to get an advanced start on completing high school so that they can dual enroll in college classes during their junior and senior years or enter the work force through the Jumpstart Apprenticeship Program and other work-based learning offered at THS.
“Offering credits in the 8th grade has increased the percentage of students completing one of the 24 pathways offered by the district. Many of the high school courses offered in middle school are the gateway courses in these pathways,” said Dr. Lynn Cato, director of curriculum and instruction for the McDuffie County school system. “Making the most of these opportunities may result in a student earning a college credential or entering the workforce at a more advanced level.”
McDuffie County began offering a few basic high school credits to 8th grade students in 2013. The program has grown in popularity and expanded to include many of the classes needed to complete 9th grade. This is accomplished by compacting the curriculum in earlier grades or by simultaneously addressing standards that are required to complete both 8th and 9th grades.