Spring Hill High School is offering students a chance to get an early start on their nursing degrees by expanding its dual-credit offerings with Kilgore College in the fall.

Adrian Knight, assistant superintendent of career and college readiness, said the goal is to give students several options once they graduate high school.

“They can either get their certified nursing assistant certification. They can go into an LVN program, or they can go into an RN program and, of course, feed into Kilgore College’s advanced programs,” he said.

Christus Good Shepherd Health System this week donated three hospital beds for the high school’s health science learning lab.

Knight said the donation saved the district between $3,000 and $4,000.

Although health science courses have been offered at the high school before, they were not dual credit, meaning students only received high school credits, said Superintendent Penny Fleet.

The partnership with Kilgore College will allow students to take medical terminology for high school and college credit, Fleet said. As students continue on the health science pathway, more courses will be added.

Some of the courses include anatomy and physiology, ethics and clinical nursing, she said.

“We’re just very excited about this partnership with Kilgore College, and we think it’s going to enhance our already strong health science program,” she said. “We’re very glad we’ll be able to offer this additional opportunity to students at Spring Hill High School.”

Although there is a fee for students to take the dual-credit courses, Fleet said Kilgore College is working on scholarship opportunities.

The district also will save costs by not having to hire a new teacher for the first dual-credit class. Mindy Borden is a registered nurse who teaches medical terminology, and Fleet said Borden is certified to teach the dual-credit class, also.

Students still have time to sign up for the class, so Fleet said she’s unsure of the total enrollment. She added that the medical terminology class was popular on campus even before it was dual credit, so the school anticipates more students will sign up.

Spring Hill wants to expand options for students to enter the workforce or go into nursing school after graduation, Fleet said. Adding the new health science courses will help students start nursing school with the prerequisite requirements completed.

“We’re searching for opportunities for students to be employable upon leaving high school,” she said. “We want to make sure we’ve offered great opportunities for when they leave here.”

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.