Dual Enrollment with Butte College

March 26, 2021, by Sandii Buckman

We’re always looking at ways to innovate at Inspire, so that our students graduate with the skills and experience they need to further their education or start a career. That’s why we’re ecstatic to share the news that students taking AP Music Theory at Inspire this academic year are also receiving college credit for the course!

Through dual enrollment with Butte College, AP Music Theory students are getting a world-class education while earning 3 units of college credit at the end of the course. AP Music Theory teacher Mr. White tells us that this is a game-changer for students who are interested in applying to college after graduation and that he hopes to have several more Dual Enrollment courses to offer Inspire students. We interviewed Mr. White to learn more about this project. Check it out below!



Q: Tell us about your AP Music Theory class and what students are learning in the course

A: I don’t often quote Wikipedia, but the website says it well, “Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory). Over the course of several centuries, musicians have developed conventions or practices that make music cohesive and pleasing to the listener. In music theory we study how to write melodies that are memorable and appropriate for the emotion the composer wants for the audience, we study how chords work and why certain chords move to other chords naturally. We also look at music history to discover great composers, how music has developed, and how it has stayed the same in Western Music for centuries.


Q: What makes it possible for students to have a Dual Enrollment course like this with Butte College while attending Inspire? What hoops did you have to jump through to teach this? Why did you think it was important to do so?

Headshot of Mr.White

A: Butte College has been developing relationships with High Schools for a while now. We started this process a couple of years ago but just this year began the Dual Enrollment program. I submitted my course curriculum for review, and as an AP course, it already fit the criteria. The next steps were an agreement between Inspire and Butte College. I had to be hired by Butte College as an Instructor, so I am teaching a Butte College course on Inspire’s campus.

“Dual Enrollment” means students are enrolled both at Inspire and at Butte College. When they complete my course they will have high school credits applied to graduation as well as college credits applied toward their college transcripts. That’s a huge win for students. They are already doing the work in the AP course — why not get college credit at the same time? Depending on their college plans for the future, they may not have to take the AP exam because they will already have the credit.


Q: What is your hope for the future of the Dual Enrollment program at Inspire?

A: I have several courses that fit the requirements of Dual Enrollment. In fact, after continued conversations with Butte College, we are looking at adding two additional classes to the Dual Enrollment Program for the upcoming school year: Electronic Music and Recording Arts! I am excited to see this program expand at Inspire, and I hope other courses will take advantage of this model in the future as well.


Q: How can students use their high school/college credit for this course to further their careers or education in music?

A: Students will have 4 units of college credit at the end of the course, allowing them to jumpstart their college careers after graduating from Inspire.Inspire orchestra students practicing the violin


Q: What are the challenges and joys of teaching in this program?

A: Teaching a Dual Enrollment course is no different than teaching my regular AP Music Theory course. Same curriculum, same lesson plans, the same amount of material covered. I have a great job under normal circumstances. I’m a musician and I get to teach music every day. At this point in my life, it’s the best possible job.

Teaching music in a distance learning environment is difficult and can be less effective. I wrestle every day with how to teach students to develop their skills in a performance field when we do not have the chance to connect in person. It is more challenging to ensure that students are practicing, performing, and therefore truly developing their musical skills in general. I am certainly looking forward to teaching more in person this year!


We are thankful to our partners at Butte College for helping to make this possible, and proud of Mr. White for his efforts to expand the world of Learning, Inspired!

Enrollment is open. You can apply today for access to dozens of electives and a range of AP courses that help prepare students for life after high school: https://inspirechico.news/enroll-today

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