River Falls High School Wildcats have a chance to be Falcons as well, thanks to a new dual-credit program between RFHS and UW-River Falls, announced Thursday, May 9, at RFHS.

Through the program, RFHS students can earn college credit from UWRF by taking classes taught at River Falls High School. Right now, those classes will be taught by teachers Sue Popelka, and Stacey Matter.

"This new dual-credit program will provide high-quality and affordable opportunities to you," said UWRF Chancellor Dean Van Galen Thursday. "River Falls students, the Wildcats who will now also be UW-River Falls Falcons when you take these courses."

River Falls School District Superintendent Jamie Benson said the program is a win for all involved, especially students.

"This is an opportunity that fuels our district's quest to be an innovative leader in personalized learning," Benson said. "This gives you some special opportunities to consider."

He said the dual-credit courses will give RFHS students a chance to see what college-level coursework is like, gain some flexibility in scheduling when going off to college, and give students a chance to look closer at potential areas of interest.

"We are proud and privileged to be partners with the university," Benson said.

If students would like to earn college credit for the courses, they need to submit a UW-System application, said UWRF Director of Admissions Sarah Nelson. Those already taking college courses at UWRF do not need to re-apply. All interested will need to let high school staff know that they're interested in taking the dual-credit courses, Nelson said, and high school and UWRF staff will set things up for students.

RFHS Principal Kit Luedtke said it will cost students $100 per credit for these courses, which, he pointed out, is a significant savings over the $1,200 or more it would cost to take these courses as a college student.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for River Falls High School students," said Popelka. "And I'm honored to be a part of it. I really didn't think that there was any way to make calculus more fun and rewarding, but they figured it out."

"On behalf of everyone here I'd like to echo what Sue (Popelka) said about thanking everyone for making this opportunity possible," said Matter. "I'm really excited and honored to be part of it."