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Lakeland considers move from NIC for dual credit

by JOSA SNOW
Staff Reporter | February 15, 2023 1:09 AM

Lakeland Joint School District board members decided Monday to begin exploring dual credit options other than North Idaho College and have a new plan in place for district students by the fall.

“I thought you said that if they did lose their accreditation we would have time,” board Chairwoman Michelle Thompson said to Superintendent Lisa Arnold during the board’s regular meeting.

Arnold spoke with representatives from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to understand NIC’s situation, prior to the college receiving a letter Feb. 9 calling for NIC to “show cause” by March 13 why it should not lose accreditation.

“When I was reaching out to the state with regard to dual credit, the last thing I heard from them was the intention that NIC would maintain its accreditation,” Arnold said. “That has changed, and I do believe that they’re in danger of losing their accreditation. At this point, it’s probably in our best interest and in the best interest of our kids to be ready to move to a different platform.”

Many Lakeland teachers have been aware that difficulties at NIC could jeopardize college credit classes, and while they’re disappointed to be moving, they’re prepared to apply, Arnold said.

Arnold, along with Assistant Superintendent Lynn Paslay, will meet with dual credit instructors to chart a course to move dual enrollment courses to one of three colleges.

The process to open programs through the University of Idaho, College of Southern Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College are already being explored, but moving will be time consuming.

Teachers will have to reapply and resubmit their course syllabi for review, and submit a philosophical statement describing why they believe in dual credit learning, with letters of recommendation and college transcripts.

It’s likely Lakeland dual credit courses will be moved to the University of Idaho by fall, depending on how meetings with instructors go, and what board members decide.

U of I is adding an associate's degree program that would supplement degree options the students had through NIC, Arnold said. U of I has been very responsive, she said, and like a good older sibling to NIC through this process.

Board vice-chair Ramona Grissom asked district staff to find out if Brigham Young University would be another option for dual enrollment courses.

The board of trustees can re-open dual credit through NIC easily, if the college is able to regain or stabilize its accreditation.

“I just know we have a lot of parents who are concerned about the transfer of those credits,” Arnold said. “It makes me sad, but that’s where we are.”