TEA News Releases Online
Aug. 31, 2009
Early College High School program expands
to 41 campuses; $3.6 million in new funding available
AUSTIN - Texas’ rapidly growing Early College High School (ECHS) program expands to 41 campuses this fall, up from 29 schools last year.
This innovative high school model was developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to target first-generation college goers, low-income students, minority students and English language learners. It allows students to earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit free of charge while in high school. Texas quickly embraced the concept and has emerged as a national leader in this reform effort.
The ECHS model is unique because partners must provide high school students with access to college facilities and resources, including up to 60 college credit hours by the time they graduate from high school. ECHS also requires rethinking traditional curriculum sequences, finding creative ways to align and connect high school and college experiences, and providing the academic and social supports students need to succeed in an intensive early college program of study.
Early colleges provide rigor with support. They offer students numerous dual credit and Advanced Placement courses and provide counseling, mentoring, and tutoring assistance in order to help students succeed. Most Early Colleges are located on the college or university campus that partners with a district in this program.
In spring 2008, TEA developed a designation process for ECHS. The designation process ensures that districts operating ECHSs maintain the integrity of the model. There are two levels of recognition available: designated or provisionally designated. Schools that have been in operation for at least two years and which have addressed all of the required design elements are eligible for designation. Schools that have been in operation for less than two years or schools that are in the process of fulfilling all of the required design elements are eligible for provisional designation.
Both levels of recognition indicate that the ECHS has been developed through a close partnership between a school district and an institution of higher education. In recognition of the level of work and commitment that is required to develop an ECHS, the designation provides the two partners with a series of benefits including: access to specialized professional development, eligibility for exemption from dual credit restrictions through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and membership in the Texas ECHS Network.
A list of the 41 existing Early College High Schools is available.. The year the school first opened is also listed.
In September, the Texas Education Agency will make approximately $3.6 million available for funding additional schools through the ECHS Cycle 4 grants. The grant, which runs from Jan. 1, 2010 to May 31, 2012, will support the planning and implementation of approximately eight additional schools.
In order to help explain the ECHS Model, the Texas Education Agency will host presentations in five different parts of the state entitled, Understanding the ECHS Model.
Experts in ECHS design in Texas will explain how the model works and why it is so promising. Attendees will learn about the difference between an ECHS and dual credit program and how ECHSs enable at-risk students to graduate from high school and earn 60 college credit hours.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about ECHS is welcome to RSVP and attend. To RSVP, email email@example.com and include the location of presentation you plan to attend (Austin, Fort Worth, Abilene, WEBINAR), name, title, email, and phone number.
Presentations will be held in the following locations:
Austin: Sept. 10, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Region 13 Education Service Center, Barton Springs Room, 3rd Floor
5701 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78723
Fort Worth: Sept. 14, 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Tarrant County College Northwest, Michael Saenz Conference Center, WACB 1123
1500 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Abilene: Sept. 15, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Region 14 Education Service Center
1850 Highway 351, Abilene, TX 79601
Webinar: Sept. 30, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Online, RSVP in order to receive webinar instructions
Early College High Schools are one of the key initiatives under the Texas High School Project (THSP), a more than $346 million public-private alliance committed to ensuring that all Texas students graduate high school ready for college and career success and prepared to be contributing members of the community. Public and private organizations in the THSP include the Texas Education Agency, the Governor's Office, the Texas Legislature, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas and National Instruments. THSP private philanthropic investments are managed by Communities Foundation of Texas. State and federal investments in Texas schools are managed by the Texas Education Agency.