Sam Pond has a connection with Northern State University that could open doors for the high school senior.
Although he attends a small school in a sparsely populated part of South Dakota, Pond has access to advanced courses through the NSU Center for Statewide E-learning.
Pond, who has a 3.82 GPA, takes Advanced Placement (AP) physics, calculus and English through NSU E-learning at Waverly/South Shore School, near Watertown.
The center has served Waverly/South Shore for about 11 years, said E-learning Principal Mary Cundy. Along with a variety of other courses, NSU E-learning offers eight online AP courses to students across the state.
“Students prize these courses; scholarship programs and college admissions value AP courses. Students who take AP courses during high school distinguish themselves from their peers,” Cundy said.
Without Northern’s E-learning connection, students at small schools wouldn’t have the option to take advanced courses, she said, adding that a small school can’t hire a teacher for one course that serves perhaps just one student.
“Many of our students come from small schools. They many times are studying alone – their only classmates are online. For example, I know Sam doesn’t have a local study partner in calculus,” Cundy said.
Cundy said it’s important that schools across the state have access to this level of instruction as they prepare students for success at the university level.
Founded in 2001, the center serves about 1,200 students in grades 9-12 in 118 school districts across the state.