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Madison Metropolitan School District

Credit Opportunities Outside MMSD Classrooms

Students in the nursing program

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) wants to support students in accessing additional learning experiences of interest, outside of the coursework that students engage within their high school classrooms. To that end, MMSD offers a number of additional opportunities that support experiential learning, individual research, early access to college credit, and service learning. Information about each of these programs is provided below. 

We also want to be clear that the opportunities listed below represent all of the MMSD board-approved options for earning high school credit, outside of what is earned through classroom-based coursework (see MMSD Board Policy #3450). While we encourage students to take advantage of the wide variety of educational enrichment opportunities available to them, (through online programs, summer study programs, language camps, leadership development camps, etc), we also recognize that many of these programs are fee-based and thus may be inaccessible to all students and families in our school district. In keeping with our beliefs about educational equity, and in recognition of the rich learning opportunities that are accessible to all through our school-based learning environments and approved partner programs, we will not transcribe courses and credits that are earned outside of courses offered in MMSD or outside the programs listed below.*   

Early College Credit

The Early College Credit Program (ECCP) allows high school students the opportunity to take college courses at Wisconsin public (University of Wisconsin) and private universities. Statute 118.55 outlines the aspects of the program. Students looking to take coursework over the summer term need to submit their application to their high school counselor prior to February 1 (district notification to students of approval/denial by March 15) each year.  Students looking to take courses in the fall semester must turn in the application to their high school counselor by March 1 (district notification to students of approval/denial by April 15) of each year. For spring semester courses, the deadline for submission to their high school counselor is October 1 (district notification to students of approval/denial by November 15) of each year.  Counselors will forward directly to the district representative on behalf of the student and family.  Upon district notification, documented approvals, along with transcripts will be forwarded to the college or university for processing.  Students can expect communication directly from the college or university.

Program Links: ECCP Website 

Program Specifics:

  • Courses requested CANNOT be similar or equivalent to courses offered by the district

  • Student may take up to 18 credits; no limits number of courses at a given time; however, UW will limit to 1 course at a time in most cases, 2 in rare cases with previous successful completion

  • Grades 9-12; however, most universities will have restrictions for Grade 10 or lower (unless there are extenuating circumstances)

  • Fall, spring, and summer courses are available under the program

  • Student MUST meet pre-requisites outlined for each course

  • Processed within MMSD by the Office of Personalized Pathways

Partnering Institutions: Wisconsin Public & Private Colleges/ Universities

Deadline: October 1 for Spring, February 1 for Summer and March 1 for Fall

Program Contact: Jen Wegner, jwegner@madison.k12.wi.us, 608-663-5229 

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Experiential Learning Credit

Opportunities for students to earn credit (and industry certification and recognition) through current work experiences.  These experiences can include paid or unpaid work; volunteering and service-oriented learning experiences can also be considered for experiential learning credits. Students should work with their counselor to determine interest and need.  

Program Links: Experiential Learning Website 

Program Specifics:

  • Grades 9-12

  • Fall, Spring & Summer opportunities

  • Students earn .25 credits for every 45 hours

  • Students can earn up to 5 credits (elective) to be applied towards high school graduation requirements

  • Students should ideally complete application components prior to beginning to accrue hours in order to have these hours count towards credits.

  • Education Training Agreement, regular check-ins, reflection, and semesterly evaluations are required

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: Vary

Coursework Options: Paid work experience and unpaid volunteering or service learning.

Deadline: Ongoing

Program Contact: Jen Wegner, jwegner@madison.k12.wi.us, 608-663-5229 

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Independent Study 

Independent Study (IS) credit provides students an opportunity to earn credit for exploring areas of interest, extending beyond that which the high school provides. Independent Study may include in-school and/or out-of-school school learning opportunities. 

Program Specifics:

Our Board of Education Policy #3545 provides guidance MMSD Board Policy #3545 , a few guidelines exist that govern awarding credit for Independent Study: 

  • All independent study must be initiated and completed through an independent study contract approved by the Principal.

  • Each Independent Study contract must be sponsored, monitored, and verified by a certified staff member at the student’s high school..

  • Independent Study is a Pass-Fail experience and no grades will be given.  Students who successfully complete their Independent Study experience will be awarded a “P” and will receive credit. 

  • Credit Requirements:

  • No more than 1 credit per school year may be granted for Independent Study, per individual student.

  • No more than 1 credit may be granted in the same subject area, per individual student. 

  • No more than 2 Independent Study credits may be applied to an individual student’s graduation requirement total. 

  • Credits are granted based on hours of engagement: 

    • 45 hours (equivalent to two ½ periods/week for 1 semester) = .25 credits

    • 90 hours (equivalent to 5 periods/week for 1 semester) = .5 credits

    • 180 hours (equivalent to 5 periods/week for 1 school year) = 1.0 credits

  • Any and all costs for the Independent Study experience will be the responsibility of the student.
  • Physical education independent study contracts have been developed to be congruent with the physical education proficiency-based program. These contracts will be initiated and completed through the Physical Education Department Chairperson..
  • Students can submit Independent Study requests throughout Fall and Spring semester - contact your school counselor for more application information.

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: MMSD Certified Staff Members

Grade Level: 9-12

Coursework Options: Student Designed Research or Exploration Project

When Available: Fall and Spring

Deadline - Prior to the start of each semester

Program Links: 214:  Independent Study Credit | 215 Independent Study for Physical Education Credit | Independent Study Application

Program Contact:  For more information, please contact your school counselor.

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Madison Virtual Campus (MVC) 

Madison Virtual Campus (MVC) is a district-wide service that provides flexible online learning opportunities to MMSD students through their school of attendance. MVC is a partner in the Wisconsin eSchool Network, which offers our students the instructional expertise and opportunities for learning from over 16 member and affiliated school districts. Through our partnership, we have access to fully vetted, standards-aligned curriculum from quality content vendors such as FLVS (Florida Virtual School).  MVC courses are for original credit or credit recovery and are full semester in length. 

Program Links: MVC Introduction | MVC Overview | MVC Mentor Teachers | MVC Timeline

Program Specifics:

  • MVC is not a full-time online schooling option and does not offer diplomas.  It is a supplementary program that provides students enrollment in additional options for coursework.

  • Currently, only high school courses are available for online enrollment through MVC.

  • Students are approved to take courses not offered at their high school based on compelling curricula needs (e.g., to keep pace for graduation, to take courses not offered at their high school, etc.).

  • Interested students should consult with their school counselor who can help to assist them through the application process.

  • MVC operates on a rolling admissions basis throughout the school year and summer depending on space and availability of courses. 

    • Course Requests for Fall Semester must be received by mid-October. Last enrollments are in late October.

    • Course Requests for Spring Semester must be received by mid-February. Last enrollments are in late February.

    • Course Requests for Summer must be received by mid-June. Last enrollments are in late June.

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: Wisconsin eSchool Network, MMSD Certified Staff, Wisconsin Statewide Certified Teachers
Grade Level: 9-12

Coursework Options: MVC Course Catalog

When Available: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Courses at a Time: 2 credits

Credit Limit: 8 credits

Applications: Contact your school counselor for course request information. 

Program Contact: Alyson Weier, akweier@madison.k12.wi.us, 608-442-2155.  You can also reach out to your school counselor or your school’s MVC Mentor Teacher (see link above) 

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Part-Time Open Enrollment

Part-Time Open Enrollment (PTOE) allows students to attend public school in a nonresident school district (including online or virtual district options) for the purpose of taking a course offered by the nonresident school district. A pupil may attend no more than two courses at any time in nonresident school districts.

  • Processed within MMSD by the Enrollment Office

  • For more information, see the Department of Public Instruction website found here.

Program Links: PTOE Application | Part-Time Open Enrollment Website

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: Wisconsin K-12 Institutions

Grade Level: 9-12

Coursework Options: Any, including online.  (Must be offered by a WI K-12 institution.)

When Available: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Course at a Time: Up to 2

Credit Limit: N/A

Deadline: 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the course

Program Contact: Fatima Bendada, fbendada@madison.k12.wi.us , 608-663-4957

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Start College Now

Students filling out an application

Start College Now (SCN) allows high school students the opportunity to take college courses at Wisconsin Technical Colleges. Statute 38. 12 (14) outlines the aspects of the program. Students looking to take courses in the fall semester must turn in the application to their high school counselor by March 1 (district notification to students of approval/denial by April 15) of each year. For spring semester courses, the deadline for submission to their high school counselor is October 1 (district notification to students of approval/denial by November 15) of each year.  Counselors will forward directly to the district representative on behalf of the student and family.  Upon district notification, documented approvals, along with transcripts will be forwarded to the college or university for processing.  Students can expect communication directly from the college or university.

Program Specifics:

  • Courses requested CANNOT be similar or equivalent to courses offered by the district

  • Student may take up to 18 credits; no more than 2 courses at a time

  • Grades 11 & 12 only

  • Fall & spring semesters only; no Summer option

  • Student MUST meet pre-requisites outlined for each course

  • Processed within MMSD by the Office of Personalized Pathways

Program Links: ECCP Website 

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: Wisconsin Technical Colleges

Credit Limit: 18 credits

Deadline: October 1 for Spring and March 1 for Fall

Program Contact: Jen Wegner, jwegner@madison.k12.wi.us, 608-663-5229 

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Youth Apprenticeships:

Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, is a rigorous one- or two-year elective program for juniors and seniors, that combines academic and technical classroom instruction with mentored, on-the-job training to provide students with industry-established occupational and employability skills. Post-secondary and business partnerships are essential for a successful youth apprenticeship program. 

Please note that application to the Youth Apprenticeship program does not guarantee job placement.  Full participation in the program and the ability to earn the Youth Apprenticeship certificate requires both on-the-job training and related technical classroom instruction.

Program Specifics:

  • Requires related coursework while participating

  • YA is NOT a job placement program; there are no guarantees

  • Students must commit to at least 450 hours of experience

  • Education Training Agreement, regular check-ins, reflection, and semesterly evaluations are required

Program Links: Experiential Learning Website 

Partnering Institutions or Staff Involved: Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin and Common Wealth Development

Grades: 11th and 12th 

Coursework Options: Paid work experience plus related coursework required

When Available: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Courses at a Time: Up to a total of 5 credits for all work experience opportunities

Deadline: 

Program Contact: Jen Wegner, jwegner@madison.k12.wi.us, 608-663-5229 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What about students that followed the past process and are already engaged in their Pre Approved Educational Experience Outside of MMSD during Fall 2020 Semester 1? 

We will honor any student's experience that received pre approval prior to the start of the Fall 2020 school year. 

Are there opportunities for students to continue to engage in programs such as the Summer Language Schools and still earn MMSD Credit? 

Students are highly encouraged to continue to engage in learning experiences outside of MMSD. However, MMSD will not award high school credit or list the experience on a transcript unless it is a part of one of the programs listed above.  This process allows for a  more clarified and equitable practice for awarding credit for educational experiences that take place outside of the classroom.  Students and families can continue to include information about other educational experiences in post-secondary applications and are encouraged to provide any transcripts from college-credit bearing courses (taken outside of the options listed above) directly to their postsecondary institutions. 

If students participate in an enrichment program, will we put it on their transcript? 

The only credit-bearing opportunities that will be added to a student’s high school transcript are those listed above or those which are already included on the high school transcript of a student who transfers into an MMSD high school.   Participation in enrichment programs is highly encouraged and a student and family can consult with their high school counselor for alternate ways to share information about these enrichment experiences with potential postsecondary programs, employers, etc.

A transfer student comes to us with an experience on their transcript. Do we leave it? 

Yes.  We do not edit other schools' transcripts.

If students participate in a summer program out of state and bring us a High School transcript, will we transcribe this? 

If students enroll in a public school’s summer school program in a different school district and return to MMSD with a high school transcript from that school district, these courses and credits will be added to a student’s high school transcript, similarly to what is done for transfer students. 

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