How Dobson High School in Mesa used Dual Enrollment tuition revenue to benefit the entire school

By Earl Barrett and Larry Dukerich, retired science teachers. Feb. 2016


Dobson High School was the second Arizona school to offer dual enrollment (DE) classes in partnership with Rio Salado CC. We followed Mountain Pointe (in Tempe Union High School district) by one year and used the same model.  With the district’s full support, we included dual enrollment courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy & physiology. These courses were all taught by teachers holding  community college certification. 


We each submitted a syllabus for CC approval and agreed to two yearly evaluations made by the CC science coordinator.  In return we received monetary support from the community college, based on our student enrollment.  Students were allowed to take the class without paying for college credit and receive only district high school credit if they wished.  In practice, however, the majority of students chose to pay tuition to receive CC credit.


At the end of each semester, the college submitted a statement of monetary support that was earned through the paid enrollment. The dual enrollment teachers at Dobson then met to decide how to disperse the funds with the knowledge of the entire science department staff.  It was decided to look at the big picture and create a plan that allocated monetary support based on greatest need, and a three year plan that would eventually get the most bang for the buck. The full staff recognized that DE funds would first support the DE courses, but, as equipment was replaced, the non-DE classes would benefit by receiving the older equipment.  This created a culture of inclusion that served everyone in the department and fostered a spirit of support for the advanced programs in all regular classes.


In fact, that spirit spread to other departments, because science no longer requested any part of the yearly school capital support budget. At some point, a very small percentage of the CC support was allocated to time spent by district employees to pay for ordering and supply responsibilities. 


This is a shining example of win-win and total local control.



[Earl Barrett wrote also: "We never considered using any for graduate courses because that was not a need.  If it was, I do believe we could have."]


This and related documents can be downloaded at

in the section on “How to increase physics enrollment in high school”.