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Some middle school students are getting a jump start on ninth grade, much like high school students take college classes and dual enroll at local universities.

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At Teasley Middle School in Canton, Shari Tolan leads a high school level physical science class. Students in Cherokee County who are ready for more challenging academics can enroll in high school level classes.

“It’s a way to get a lot of the core [high school] courses under the belt,” said Nicole Holmes, Cherokee’s chief academic officer. “If you are a high school student enrolled in AP classes, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room for electives or courses of interest. Having those core courses finished frees up some time in the day to take additional things.”

Taking high school courses early also offers some students the rigorous challenges that keep them engaged, said Holmes. “Some kids are soaking up everything you can put in front of them, so why make them wait until high school to expand into an advanced curriculum?”

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