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5 children standing on a book words educational excellence - building our future
School District of Janesville, Wisconsin

Rock University High School -- RUHS!

  • A semester’s tuition at UW-Madison is $10,725
  • At UW-Whitewater, it’s $7,706.

Those costs are before books and room and board.
Parents, imagine how those costs would change if your child left high school with a two-year associate
degree with credits transferable to a four-year college.
Students, imagine leaving high school with a degree that allowed you to make real money.
That option already exists at Rock University High School, one of the Janesville School District’s most
unique charter schools.
It’s called the middle college concept, and it’s not only about saving money. It’s also about giving
students a head start on their lives.

How does it work?

“In essence, it means students are working towards a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time,” said Kollen Onsrud, Rock University principal, and
a curriculum coordinator for the School District of Janesville.   
 
It starts with an intense focus on the mental habits and study strategies students need to succeed in a college-like atmosphere. The school, which is housed in Blackhawk Technical College, doesn’t operate on a standard high school schedule.

Instead, students have longer class periods, and must manage their work load and their free time.  Each year, the students take a seminar, a class with an intensive focus on reading, writing and research.In those classes students also learn about the skills they’ll need for colleges, including the ability to interact with others.

During their junior year, students begin to take dual credit courses. These courses count for both high
school and college credit. By their senior year, some students will take classes almost exclusively at
Blackhawk Technical College.

“What makes us unique is that we work closely with Blackhawk Tech to see which courses are going to
work as high school and college credits,” Onsrud said.

Students don’t always know what they want to do after high school. Rock University High School
teachers and staff help students explore their options.

“We’re really promoting it as a place where freshmen don’t have to know what they want to do as a
career path,” Onsrud said. “But we expect them to understand that the goal is to be working towards an
associates degree.”

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