A group of South St. Paul students are taking high school to the next level.
Nineteen students at the small high school will begin their senior years in early September with hopes of not just earning a diploma, but of finishing a two-year college degree. They are taking part in a partnership between their school district and Inver Hills Community College to offer not just college classes, but an associate's degree to aspiring high schoolers.
The program uses South St. Paul's existing International Baccalaureate program, or IB, in which students can earn college credit from advanced high school coursework, coupled with online classes from nearby Inver Hills. Students don't have to leave the high school to participate, and if they complete their classes and score high enough on end-of-course exams, they can earn a college degree in the last two years of high school.