I think this discussion from the past on InstantNewsKaty is very interesting, and those of you who want to further this program should read this exchange:

Katy ISD Community Education Hosts Free College Funding Workshops

· September 13, 2011 ·

Planning and paying for college or technical school can be overwhelming with Katy families paying as much as $22,000 to $43,000 annually to send their students to public and private colleges and universities in Texas. 

To help keep families well-informed about options when it comes to paying for college, Katy ISD Community Education is hosting several free College Funding Workshops.

College Funding Workshop attendees will learn how to:

  • Plug into $10+ billion of grant money

  • Learn how private colleges may be less expensive than state schools

  • Identify forgivable loans exceeding $46,000

  • Learn about out-of-state public schools which don’t charge out of state tuition

  • Learn how to improve your financial aid awards

  • Identify schools more generous with their aid dollars

  • Learn how higher income families can qualify for “need based” financial aid

Upcoming workshops include:

Cinco Ranch High School – 7 – 8:10 p.m.

  • Today – Room 1617

  • Oct. 11 – Ninth Grade Cafeteria

  • Nov. 8 – Ninth Grade Cafeteria

  • Dec. 13 – Ninth Grade Cafeteria

Taylor High School – 7 – 8:10 p.m.

  • Oct. 13 – Library

  • Nov. 10 – Library

Katy ISD’s College Funding workshops are free and open to the public. 

For more Information contact Ross Raymond at 832-877-7557, or via email at RossRaymond1@aol.com.



    Ross Raymond says:

    Thank you Instant News I appreciate the help getting the word out.

    Last night we had a good crowd of parents all concerned about how to pay for college as these expenses have gotten out of hand for many of us.

    Last night’s parents agreed with me when I said there are only three things we can do for our children which really count. We can love them, we can instill in them a moral compass, and we can provide them with an appropriate education. The student must bring the worth ethic to the table and take advantage of the educational opportunity.

    I am renewing my request of the Katy school board of trustees to award the same GPA weighting to dual credit college courses as they do to A. P. classes so as to encourage more of our top students to take college course work, and not worry about playing the GPA game. Many school districts in Texas do this, and as a result Katy ISD students are at a disadvantage when applying to some colleges because of the differing impact on GPA results.

    Several Katy ISD high school counselors have told me they would like to provide a GPA boost for non top ten percent students to interest them in taking these course and at the same time potentially improving their GPA when applying for colleges. It is a win/win situation for all concerned and will not cost our taxpayers a single dime. In fact the more students taking dual credit the better it is for our school budget as dual credit classes are taught by Houston Community College teachers who are NOT on our local ISD payroll!


    time2go says:

    Mr. Raymond,

    Can you explain the reasoning behind why KISD BOT will not up the GPA weighting for dual credit? I heard it has something to do with schools getting some kind of funding if students take AP classes, but then again that is what “I heard”. Do administrators get bonuses for the amount of students who take AP classes? What exactly is the difference between dual credit/AP? What is the success rate of students who take and pass dual credit vs. AP students? I also “heard” that AP students need to test out of the course and need a certain number to receive the credit. How does this work? Who should approach the BOT about this? I don’t understand why anyone would not want their child to take dual credit, although not every student/parent can afford it or even can take dual credit classes, but it is still cheaper in the long run for those than can. I checked the HCC website and the credits are good at all Texas colleges and some colleges out of state – but like anything you invest in (especially our children), you have to do the research. Also a student can enter college with as many as 12+ credits because of dual credit depending on how many classes they take. I agree with you it is a win/win situation – I see no other reason for it not to be. Thanks for bringing your knowlege to the parents of KISD. Looking to save a buck anywhere we can!


    Ross Raymond says:

    You have quite a few good questions.

    I have never heard a good reason why the BOT has not supported enhanced GPA credit for dual credit course work in all the years I have asked for such consideration. There is a district in house lobby which is served by having more children in AP classes taking AP tests, and some rating services do look at the number of AP tests district students take. Oddly enough it is my understanding they do NOT consider the percentage passing the test just the number of tests taken.

    My daughter took AP and dual credit in high school. When she began her first semester at U. T. Austin she had 27 semester hours on her transcript, or nearly a year of college credit.

    I believe we should brag about both the both the number of AP tests taken, AND the number of guaranteed college credits our students earned while still in high school through dual credit?

    The truth is all Texas public universities accept all dual credit earned from all Texas based community colleges. Please note even Ivy league schools will take dual credit course work.

    As for AP credits, they are generally accepted for college credit when the student as a 4 or 5 test result.

    The cost for three hours of dual credit at HCC is about $165. A single college course at UT Austin is about a grand per class. Of course the more hours you take the better the deal, but it never gets close to these figures.

    Personally, I believe the BOT has not taken action on this because there are those at the ESC who don’t want it to happen. This is NOT to say there is a plot at work. It is a misguided sense of what is best for our Katy families trying to pay for college. Ignorance of the benefits, and the high cost of college is a factor.

    Example: In 2002 the cost of attendance at UT Austin was about $9,300/ year. Today the SAME services cost over $23,400 and are climbing.

    As for budget (Isn’t it fun to work with extremes?) if we took an entire high school and farmed it out to dual credit class work the cost to run that high school would be decreased by several million dollars per year due to the payroll savings alone. We will never, nor should we, do that, but the more of these classes we can fill, the lower our operating costs.

    A few years ago I ran for school board and proposed the acceptance of dual credit classes for full GPA credit. My opponent sent out a letter telling parents if this was acted upon it would “depreciate the value of a Katy ISD diploma.” Seems it got traction and since no one wants to depreciate the value of a high school diploma by have full college credit associated with it (get real) the vote; well lets just say the vote did not go my way.

    If you want to reach out and touch a BOT member, their individual email addresses can be found on the Katy ISD web site under the school board tab. I suggest you start with Bill Proctor, Henry Dibrell ,and Terry Huckaby as they seem to be the most receptive ones on the board followed by Neal Howard. It takes four votes to make this revision and set a new district policy. The other three members were on the BOT when I proposed it in the past and they took no action. These members are: Ms. Fox, Mr. Shaw, and Mr. Adams. Maybe with a little prod from you and others, they will reconsider and move forward in a positive manner?

    Thanks for asking. If I can be of service to you please do not hesitate to contact me.



    time2go says:

    Thanks for your coments Mr. Raymond. You stated in your first comment you are renewing your request of the board members to award the GPA rating…….in what way, may I ask?


    Ross Raymond says:

    I have begun the process again by approaching two board members face to face to renew my ongoing request. I first went before the BOT in the fall of 2007 asking for this change.

    I have ran for a BOT spot on three separate occasions and during each one, I pushed the idea, but no traction.

    I have worked through all the internal channels of the ESC and got to the point where Dr. Merrell was willing to recommend the change but needed to check on an item or two first. The following week he retired.

    I renewed the request with our new superintendent, but to be fair with all the activity of coming into a new job, I am sure the request got lost in the shuffle.

    The truth is I got tired and weary of asking for something so simple and having such resistance to it at every turn, I dropped this issue until recently.

    I don’t need dual credit course work,or increased GPA points to help my family, that door has long since closed with our youngest graduating college this year.

    I want to sign off by letting top 10% students and their parents know that allowing non GT/AP students the opportunity to earn an extra point will NOT impact class standing for the top of the class. An AP student who has done well and continues to take AP classes will not be leap frogged by a non AP student. If so, the AP student has been getting “B’s and C’s” in the AP classes and clearly not in the top 10%.

    Thanks for asking and please join me in asking our BOT members to act on this item in the near future.

  6. Former Katy ISD Administrator says:

    I appreciate Mr. Raymond’s point of view and I believe he is passionate about his beliefs. However, as a former junior high principal and high school principal, I can ASSURE you that the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) expectations far exceed what HCC demands. In fact, in SOME cases, regular high school courses expect more than HCC. The quality of HCC’s instructors run the spectrum from very good to very poor.

    The AP coursework is a national curriculum with a rigorous national test at the end of the year. With dual credit courses, there is not always consistency from instructor to instructor within the same course. In some cases, high school teachers with master’s or doctorate degrees are hired by both HCC and the school districts. Occasionally, they teach both AP courses and dual credit courses. Find any teacher who has taught both and they will tell you the College Board’s expectations in AP classes far exceed the expectations of dual credit courses. I know that representatives from HCC vehemently disagree, but as an educator of 31 years experience, I KNOW the difference.

    AP classes meet every day of the week, whereas dual credit courses sometimes meet only once or twice a week. HCC instructors do not follow the district and state grading guidelines. Advanced Placement (AP) teachers do follow the district and state grading guidelines.

    I do agree with Mr. Raymond that there is relevance and purpose to continue dual credit courses in high school; however, I do not support equally weighted grade points for dual credit and AP courses. I could possibly support a 1/2 point bump, but not a full grade point.

    From a purely economic point of view, Mr. Raymond’s beliefs are well founded. However, I can tell you from the angle of rigor and relevance, there is no comparison.


    Ross Raymond says:

    Former administrator please allow me to thank you for your service and coming into the discussion.

    The truth is senior english, AP english, and freshman college english are not the same course. All three are different.

    I am prepared to state for the public record that AP courses are tough and to get an “A” you have to either be very smart, and/or work very hard to achieve this and that is the reason for the extra point. I have always deferred to that logic as it is certainly true.

    However, we need to note Rice, UT, A&M, etc., accept the dual credit course and do so every time as long as the grade was consistent with the university’s standard evaluation of course matter they routinely accept for credit. Comparative rigor is NOT the standard as universities do not deny dual credit hours even though some believe them to be “easier” courses. Rigor is not the issue; college credit is, and allowing students the opportunity to acquire these hours has a huge financial impact on our neighbors.

    Like it or not please we must all realize AP classes PREPARE the student for college, dual credit courses ARE college.

    Given many districts award the extra point for dual credit and we do not, our dual credit students are penalized as they apply for college slots, and AP students who want to take the dual credit course are discouraged from doing so due to the GPA disparity.

    The bottom line; which I believe we can all agree with, is that our goal is to prepare the student in the best possible manner going into a post secondary world, and universities agree dual credit course work does this. So does AP!

    It is not news that employers complain about the lack of skills our young people fail to bring to the table, or that community colleges fill their remedial classes with high school graduates who do not have the skills for freshmen work. The problem is much larger than the depth of this discussion.

    In the meantime I still have not heard a valid reason why dual credit should NOT be given the extra point. If universities stop taking dual credit classes we can have that talk; until then I respectfully believe our students deserve the point. The issue is not personal as I have no dog in this fight.


    lisalou says:

    I am avoiding posting on this site because of a particular idiot who hangs out here, but I feel the need to reply because it is already extremely confusing for students and parents when they are trying to figure this whole thing out and they need to be very careful when they hear things to check it out.

    Former Admin is absolutely correct. The extra point given by KISD has nothing to do with college. It has to do with recognition for honors courses. Dual credit classes should not be considered honors courses. My daughter saw the work her friends were doing and said it was nothing compared to her AP classes.

    Additionally, although dual credit may earn college credit, it may or may not be credit that counts toward a degree. For instance, many degree plans don’t accept College Algebra or Trigonometry as Math credit, and those are the dual credit courses. There are also dual credit PE, Speech and Cosmetology courses, which aren’t needed in many degree plans and certainly shouldn’t receive honors credit. Even the dual credit Economics only counts toward particular degree plans, mostly business. Many colleges only award transfer credit for Government if both 2301 and 2302 are transferred from the same school, but dual credit is only 2301, so the student would have to take 2302 in the summer in order to transfer it. In fact, the only dual credit courses that can be pretty much guaranteed credit toward most degrees are English and History.

    Ross, AP courses are not just preparation for college. They also earn college credit if the student scores high enough on the extremely rigorous test. In fact, they can earn honors credit, which a dual credit course can never earn. That is one way that universities make it clear that AP courses are recognized as being more difficult than dual credit courses. My daughter earned 16 hours of honors credit for her AP courses. She did not take every test because some of the classes would not have counted toward her degree plan and she didn’t need any elective credit – Government, Economics, Art History, for instance. Regardless, she successfully completed the much more difficult work and earned the extra point.

    As far as how colleges review transcripts, they use the unweighted GPA, which tells them if the student is an A, B, or C student. They may even use their own version of the unweighted GPA, which removes the courses they think are fluff. Because each district has their own policy regarding what is considered honors courses and what scale they use, they rarely use the weighted GPA. CFISD, for instance, grades on a 7.0 scale. Klein grades on a 6.0 scale where each numerical grade counts as a different amount of points, depending on the level of the class. A 100 in an AP course is worth 6 points, in an advanced course (which includes Varsity Athletics) is 5.5 points and a regular course is 5.0 points. A 99 is 5.9, 5.4, and 4.9 points, and down from there. Colleges look at the weighted scale as it applies to class rank and to the rigor of the courses that were taken, but they do not compare the weighted GPAs of students from different districts. Any college admissions counselor will tell you that.

    The only way that colleges would ever compare weighted GPAs is if every high school in the state was required to use the exact same system. Even then, like class rank, there will be differences between what a 3.8 GPA means at Seven Lakes and what it means at Hightower.


    Former Katy ISD Administrator says:

    I must say up front that all of Mr. Raymond’s statements are true, I do not find anything he has written to be inaccurate; HOWEVER, I still disagree in principle that dual credit courses should not be awarded the same grade point average as Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Dual credit courses are easier, no matter how you slice it. By awarding extra grade point to dual credit courses, we will kill the AP program which is LOWERING EXPECTATIONS!

    Mr. Raymond is correct that Rice will accept most dual credit coursework; however, admissions officers will tell high school counselors confidentially that they know the difference between students who took the AP route and kids who took the dual credit route. On the flip side, universities such as Duke, Harvard, Yale and other prestigious universities outside Texas more or less REQUIRE an AP or International Baccalaureate curricula on the high school transcript to be seriously considered for admission. Yes, you can find exceptions to that rule; however, the overwhelming majority of students admitted to those schools have AP or IB courses on their high school transcripts.

    I guess it boils down to a philosophical point of view. From an economics viewpoint, Mr. Raymond’s position is sound. From an academic standpoint, to adopt his philosophy reduces expectations.

    Lisalou also has a good point – college algebra is a dual credit course offered by HCC ( I don’t know if this course is taught in Katy ISD high schools, but this is just an illustration). College Algebra, from a curricular point of view, is much lower in rigor than high school pre-calculus expectations. It is more or less a remedial course. Surely, we would not give it a bump in grade point merely because its dual credit status?

    As I stated previously, I am supportive of dual credit courses in high schools. Dual credit courses definitely have a purpose BUT, in my opinion, were implemented to serve a different audience than AP courses. Talk to the kids in our high schools – they know the difference in the two programs.


    Ross Raymond says:

    I too have no problem with the postings of others and in fact cite the following directly from one; “Dual credit courses are easier, no matter how you slice it. By awarding extra grade point to dual credit courses, we will kill the AP program which is LOWERING EXPECTATIONS!”

    The fear at the ESC all along has been that dual credit will kill off the AP program, this is nonsense. All one has to do is examine the strength of the AP program in districts which offer dual credit course work WITH the extra point and it is clear this has not happened. However this irrational concern is what makes some run for cover.

    I attended a meeting sponsored by the district, and presented by one poster on this board showing the number of AP tests given year by year. One year there was a marked drop in the number of tests, and the explanation offered was the cost of the test to the parent had gone up that year and in response to the economic times the number of tests DECLINED. It seems our audience is price sensitive.

    AP courses are free, dual credit cost money, AP credit is a “maybe;” dual credit is a “for certain” (assuming a passing grade and proper college selection). AP classes are offered from junior high school through senior course work and cover the full range of academic opportunities. Dual credit is very limited and available only to those students ALLOWED to take the classes by their individual high school campus. Neither program allows for “walk ons.”

    A fully recognized dual credit program can live side by side with our outstanding GT/AP program.

    When the subject of rigor and curriculum was first discussed at the ESC, I met with the Chief Educational officer, Elizabeth Clark and others at HCC. HCC was receptive to changing the course material to reflect concerns our district might have. Dr. Zach Hodges, president of HCC West offered to appease the district’s concerns, but his willingness to do so was met with inaction, so the status quo was, and is maintained. At one point HCC went so far as to allow KISD to design the course work and submit it for HCC approval. This too was rejected by Katy ISD. HCC even offered to allow Katy ISD teachers to teach the material in response to concerns about staffing. (HCC would pay them for their time.)

    Let’s not lose sight of the end game which is more college credit for our students. I don’t know why Katy ISD does not brag loudly about the number of COLLEGE credits earned by our kids while still in high school via both AP AND dual credit. The number of hours might surprise most of us. Now let’s build on them!

    Today, let’s all thank a teacher for what they do.


    lisalou says:

    The “particular idiot” I was referring to has not posted on this article. I’m just tired of being threatened with legal action every time I respond on any article that he has posted with. I’ve made complaints to INK, and know that they have blocked other users, but for some reason, this “particular idiot” is still allowed to post. So I have limited my participation.

    One minor correction. AP courses are only available Junior and Senior years, just like Dual Credit, and the curriculum is controlled by College Board. Prior to that, it is Pre-AP. Pre-AP Courses taken while in high school earn the extra point. Those taken in junior high do not affect the GPA. It is my understanding that for Pre-AP, Katy ISD uses an internally designed curriculum based on the AP course requirements and the state curriculum, but the classes are still much harder than the Academic level classes.

    By design, AP courses must be open to all students. Teachers and counselors can make recommendations, but parents and students can override these recommendations as long as the student has the pre-requisites. Yes, students who are not qualfied manage to get in these classes, but the teachers do not slow down for them, as might be done in other classes. They just fail.

    Students who meet the requirements for dual credit may take such courses either within the school day or on their own time. There are two types of students taking these courses – those who are not successful in AP and those who know the classes are easier than AP and are taking the easy way out.

    The two just aren’t the same, and as I’ve said before, the extra point is recognition for a more rigorous course. Weighted GPAs have very little to do with college entrance.


    Ross Raymond says:

    lisalou, your research is per normal correct. I used the term AP a bit too loosely and should have said Pre -AP which I believe still gets the extra point. As for junior high, I believe the credit earned counts towards high school credit. In any event, the terms “pre” and just plain AP seem to be used interchangeably by most of us, but alas you are correct.

    Given your talent for research have you found a single district reporting a downgrading of their AP program because Dual Credit students were given the extra point? I certainly do not expect you to undertake this effort, just wondering if you have ever noted any district suffering a lowering of expectations due to the encouragement of dual credit course work.

    I must take issue with your thinly veiled notion that fully vetted AP students don’t take dual credit course work. They do and it is because of this some fear the “killing of AP” otherwise why the concern?

    My own daughter took pre AP, AP, and dual credit, and like many GT/AP students began college with quite a few college hours in the bank. It saved us a chunk of money, and it can for other parents as well. I don’t care how the student gets the credit, just that credit is fairly earned, and each family has the option to select what is better for their circumstances, and not be bothered by the GPA game.

    I am sure there are some out there, but I have not met a GT/AP parent yet who did not have something negative to say about the GPA game their students must play in Katy ISD as it limits course selection, schedule concerns, and even delivery system. We have students who take fine art classes pass/fail as an “A” will hurt their GPA due to its not being an “honors” course. Some AP students don’t take some electives because their GPA will suffer. It just isn’t right and I do not believe is in the spirit intended when weight was first considered. I want a level field, others see it differently, I get it. I really do.

    I do want to check on something in your posting. I don’t think anyone FAILS an AP course as when they get an “F” we add a point and give them a “D” on their transcript. However failure of a dual credit course is just that; failure and no credit issued. More on that later.

    Final thought: don’t be discouraged from posting due to the thoughts expressed by anyone, believe me, he/she isn’t worth a second thought. The rest of us value your thoughtful presentations of information and opinion.

    To the relief of many, this will be my final posting on this subject as by now everyone should know where I stand on the subject. The larger question is where to “they” stand ,and will they communicate it to our BOT?

  13. lisalou says:

    Ross, to answer your questions:

    Whether or not a GPA bump for the dual credit courses causes the downgrading of the AP program is of no concern to me as that wouldn’t be my argument. My guess is that there would be some students who would prefer to take the dual credit classes because they are easier. Students who are concerned about receiving Honors credit for college would still need to take AP courses. Students who are trying to get into competitive private schools would be better off with AP courses.

    I don’t have anything bad to say about the “GPA game.” I think it’s only as stressful as the parents make it. Students will either be able to handle the work, or not. My daughter took electives, but they were in the AP category – Psychology, Art History, Computer Science. She took Athletics Pass/Fail. She also had early release her senior year. She was well prepared for college and has maintained a 4.0 halfway through her junior year. With the number of credits now required to graduate, students get very few electives anyway.

    Pre-AP classes taken in junior high do not count for high school credit. There are a few classes that can be taken in junior high that count for high school credit, but none of them are pre-AP.

    As to failing an AP class, yes it is possible. It’s true that an A is worth 5, B is 4, C is 3, and D is 2, but just like Academic classes, anything 69 or below receives no credit.


    Ross Raymond says:

    I think we have aired this puppy as best we can. Now I hope the BOT will take up the issue and extend the credit and I hope the AP program will continue to function well and all will remain right with the world.

    No matter how the credit was earned or if credit was given at all, the cost of college is a problem for most mortals and we need to continue to work as best we can to both trim that cost, and locate funds to pay for post secondary education.

    Thank you for your input, I appreciate it as I am sure do others.

Comments are now closed for this article.