Hill City students dive deep into psychology

By Jeff Smith

Lindsay Omeirs is the new psychology professor teaching a dual credit course at Hill City High School.

Lindsay Omeirs has been teaching psychology as a dual credit course this year in Hill City.

“It’s going well. The students are adjusting to differences in epistemology,” Omeirs said.

There is a different teaching style related to Psychology 101 and any college course. Omeirs sees the course as a way to bridge the gap between high school education and college education. There are 30 students taking the Psychology 101 class.

Principal Todd Satter said it’s huge benefit having to not drive to Rapid City. Students taking the dual credit psychology course right now pay just under $50 per credit hour. The three credit class costs them just under $150.

“There is a huge cost benefit,” Satter said.

In the second haf of the year there will be will be a sociology class offered at the school. Satter has been talking with the Hill City Ambulance Services about an EMT course but is not sure that will happen.

Students are also taking classes online through Black Hills State University Rapid City center too. Satter said that is nice because they can do that on their computer during study hall.

Satter prefers having a live teacher because it’s a lot better experience for the students.

There are students that are also driving to Western Dakota Technical Institute for courses too. Last year there were students who drove to take classes at South Dakota School of Mines. Some of last year’s senior class graduated with a semester’s worth of college credit.

The psychology course introduces students to psychology and then there is a critical thinking component to it where the students are asked  to synthesize from the lecture and textbook so they can apply different types of lessons in real-world situations.

The class is transferable for credit to any South Dakota state university. Omeirs said that with each dual enrollment class the students are saving $800.

“It’s a great opportunity to get some college exposure with a fantastic discount,” Omeirs said.

The students are getting the opportunity to experience what a college course is like.

“There is a large gap for what students are expected to do in a high school course versus in a college setting,” Omeirs said.

One of her goals is to increase familiarity with college courses and motivate the students to pursue additional dual enrollment courses.

Omeirs is an adjunct professor with Western Dakota Technical Institute. She is teaching two dual enrollment classes right now.

Omeirs said there is a lot more of a focus on autodidactic resources in a college course than in a high school course.

“Students are required to come to class already being aware of what is presented in class versus I think in high school classes the information is being presented to them for the first time,” Omeirs said.

A lot of textbook information is presented in class during a high school class but in an a dual credit class there is a drive to go beyond the text.

During lecture time there can be questions or concerns brought up about the material. Omeirs can also expand on important topics in class or relate what is in the text to life skills.

Daniel Vaughn, Hill City High School senior, said that it’s been “cool” to learn about psychology.

His favorite parts of the class has been learning about how minds works and brain chemistry.

“The genetics part is cool to me,” Vaughn said.

He said that the class as a whole is definitely different because the assignments are bigger.

Junior Alexis Cuautle said that he has learned to study by himself as a result of the class.

“Sometimes it’s not taught so you have to study it,” Cuautle said.

Overall, he thinks it makes him more responsible and he will be more developed than others with the class. College will be easier and what he has done in the psychology class will be a regular part of any college course.

The topics covered in the Psychology 101 class are methodology, genetic components and physiological components related to behavior traits, human development, human sexuality, treatment methodology and abnormal psychology. Omeirs said that a lot of the students have expressed a desire to go into teaching/ education, the healthcare field or person-centered employment situations.

She likes to relate the core concepts in class to potential fields of study the students have expressed interest in.

“Utilizing key concepts in psychology will be beneficial in any field of study,” Omeirs said.

A lot of the class is about relationships, so even students who aren’t going to be seeking higher education can gain skills in relationship management and stress management.

Knowing about psychology can improve someone’s personal health overall.

Omeirs would like to maintain the class at the school district for as long as possible. She is looking forward to teaching more upcoming junior and seniors in the future. Omeirs wants to teach online classes too so more people who have graduated high school can still continue their education.