New college-level course at Park

CIS writing studio added to curriculum


Scott Schmidt

Language arts teacher Callie Hefsted prepares for the new CIS Writing Studio class March 21. The course will be available for juniors starting fall 2023.

John Hunter

CIS (College in the Schools) Writing Studio is a new course coming to Park in the fall of 2023. The class has been available at 25 schools across the state ever since it was first offered at the University of Minnesota in the 70s. This course advertises plenty to offer for students who plan on attending any four-year school.

Language arts teacher Callie Hefstad said she would describe the course as a way to prepare students for what it is like to write essays and other assignments once in college.

“It is a class that’s going to provide college-level reading and writing for students, but particularly writing,” Hefstad said. “It is run through the University of Minnesota — students will get four credits for the University of Missouri and University of Minnesota. It’s really about building the writing skills necessary for college.”

Junior Cayden Kuss said that the course sounds like a great opportunity for college preparation and acquiring college credits.

“It’s definitely something that should be participated in because in college you’re going to be doing a lot of writing no matter what major you’re going into,” Kuss said. “Especially in terms of credits, because getting that many credits for one class has never been a thing at our school.”

Hefstad said that the course is very different from any college or advanced course at Park due to the nature of the class. 

“What makes the class different from AP or IB is that concurrent enrollment is focused on whether or not the students work hard in the class,” Hefstad said. “In AP, for example, or in IB, students still have to take a test that determines the credit. Whereas this is more about student work ethic and their ability to try their best and be successful in the class.”

Junior Thomas Woodward said the concept of the class is intriguing and a very good opportunity for students at Park. 

“This would be a very interesting class because not only would we be able to get prepared for the future, but we would also be learning how to pass a college class in high school and be able to get multiple college credits for that class while we’re in high school,” Woodward said. “That’s a great opportunity for us high school students.”

Kuss said that the class may be difficult for students with a busier schedule.

“If I didn’t have all of my IB diploma stuff going on, I would consider taking the class,” Kuss said. “But my schedule is basically decided for me so I wouldn’t be able to take that.”  

Woodward said that the class is a great option for anyone who plans on going to college because there isn’t a ton of information offered to students regarding what to expect in future academic pursuits.

“I would definitely consider taking this class because it would benefit my future,” said Woodward. “Because we don’t really know much about what’s going to happen in college and I think that it would be very nice to have a bit of a heads up instead of being left in the dark once we get there.”

Hefstad said she is excited to teach the course next year because it focuses on one of her greatest passions.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Hefstad said. “I’m excited to learn and grow as a teacher. I’m really passionate about writing, so I’m really excited to help students who are as well.”