Six students in Heather Wade’s Nutrition class at Carter High School earned college credit through an offering from Middle Tennessee State University. Pictured left to right are Riley Duval, Heather Wade and Owen Keener (top row), Izabella Hill, Ava Morell, Josie Shipley and Braygen Jones (bottom row).

Riley Duval is planning to study nursing at Middle Tennessee State University after graduating from high school this spring. But when she arrives on campus in Murfreesboro, the Carter High School senior will already have credits in hand.

Duval is one of six Carter High students who recently passed a new dual credit course called “Nutrition Across the Lifespan.” The course was taught by Carter teacher Heather Wade, and focuses on topics including food safety, macro and micro nutrients, digestion, healthy cooking, and the role of nutrition in health.

In addition, it is closely aligned with MTSU’s Principles of Nutrition class. By passing a comprehensive dual credit exam, Duval and her classmates earned three hours of college credit.

Duval is hoping to become a pediatric ICU nurse, and said she enjoys the thought of helping families when their children are sick. And the ability to get a jump start on college before graduating from Carter? “It feels good,” she said.

Across the district, KCS high schools offer a variety of dual credit courses, as well as dual enrollment courses that are taught by college faculty on college campuses. These courses and other Early Postsecondary Opportunities, or EPSOs, provide an important option for students to gain exposure to college-level work and to earn credits at a significantly reduced price while in high school.

Wade, who is finishing her 13th year as a teacher at Carter, said in this case, MTSU provided detailed study materials to prepare for the dual credit exam, and that even if students don’t attend MTSU their credits may be transferable to another institution.

Wade said she is extremely proud of her students for leading the way on a new course, and pointed out that the dual credit opportunity is available for students as early as their sophomore year.

“That’s a really cool opportunity that might be life-changing for some of these kids,” she added. “Especially some kids who may be first-generation college students.”

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