Enrollment in courses, internships rises at Woodland

BEACON FALLS — More Woodland Regional High School students are choosing to take advantage of opportunities to challenge themselves in and out of the classroom.

The number of Woodland students taking UConn Early College Experience courses and exams in Advanced Placement classes increased in the 2017-18 school year from the previous year. Students can earn college credit by taking and passing early college experience courses and AP exams.

Last school year, 95 students took an early college experience course, earning 411 college credits total, according to information provided to the Region 16 Board of Education by Woodland Principal Kurt Ogren. That is up from 71 students who earned a total of 294 credits in the 2016-17 school year.

Woodland offers a handful of early college experience courses, including music appreciation and Italian. Ogren said officials are looking into adding a fine arts course to the offerings.

Last school year, 153 students took AP exams compared to 122 in 2016-17. The percentage of students that scored a 3 or higher on the exams also increased from year to year.

“We want those kids to kind of take a risk and push themselves,” Ogren said.

An internship program run by Woodland has also grown over the years. In the 2014-15 school year, 17 students and six businesses and hospitals participated in the program. Last school year, 45 students and 20 businesses and hospitals participated.

Ogren said the vast majority of students who participate in the program don’t earn credit, while some will do an internship for their capstone project. He said the internships help students learn whether a certain career field is really what they want to pursue in life.

In the future, Ogren said, he would like all seniors to have an internship experience.