What is Early College High School?
The Early College High School model was created in 2002 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Jobs for the Future. The goal was to create an initiative to increase the number of high school students attending and completing a postsecondary education program. ECHS targets first-generation, college-bound students and other students traditionally underrepresented in colleges. The model is unique in that it requires high schools and higher education institutions to work collaboratively to develop curriculum and support systems that create a bridge from secondary to postsecondary education. Students can earn up to two year’s worth of college credit while in high school.
Why is Early College important?
In today’s knowledge-based society, a high school diploma acts only as a foundation for the higher learning that must occur for lifelong success in the 21st century. For every 100 low-income students who start high school nationally, only 65 will receive a high school diploma. Of those 65 students, only 45 of them will enroll in college, with only 11 completing their postsecondary degree. Almost 50 percent of African-American students and nearly 40 percent of Latino students in the United States attend high schools in which graduation from high school is not the norm. To combat these statistics, the ECHS model provides a structured approach to moving students into the college environment by strengthening their level of confidence and providing evidence of success long before entering a postsecondary experience. While in high school, students participate in more rigorous courses from the college curriculum and receive increased academic support. Ultimately, these students learn that they have the ability to succeed in college classes, making them more likely to pursue higher education after high school and to complete a college degree.
How does Early College work?
The Early College High School model is built on five core principals related to high school and higher education partnerships and student outcomes.
Core Principle I: Early College schools are committed to serving students underrepresented in higher education and the underrepresented population must be the majority focus.
Core Principle II: Early College schools are created and sustained by a local education agency, a higher education institution and the community, all of which are jointly accountable for student success.
Core Principle III: Early College schools and their higher education and community partners jointly develop an integrated academic program so all students earn one to two years of transferable college credit and move on to enroll at a postsecondary institution.
Core Principle IV: Early College schools engage all students in a comprehensive support system that develops academic and social skills, as well as the behaviors and conditions necessary for college completion. The high school and the postsecondary institution must participate in a support system that both prepares students for more rigorous courses and supports students as they take college-level classes.
Core Principle V: Early College schools and their higher education and community partners work with intermediaries to create conditions and advocate for supportive policies that advance the Early College movement. This includes institutional and state policies to support Early College, the identification of qualified teachers, and continuous professional development for faculty and staff at both the high school and college level.
How are Early Colleges evaluated?
All Indiana Early College High Schools must complete an evaluation process administered by CELL. Through the review process, schools identify strengths and weaknesses based on the program’s ability to meet the core principals of the model. Based on the evaluation outcomes, schools are assigned one of three levels of development.
Exploring: The school has completed one or two ECHS benchmarks.
Emerging: The school has completed three or four ECHS benchmarks.
Advanced: The school has completed all ECHS benchmarks and has either graduated students earning significant college credits or will graduate the first ECHS cohort within one year.
Schools reaching the advanced status become endorsed Early College High Schools and are recognized by both CELL and the State of Indiana. Endorsed Indiana Early College High Schools are Ben Davis University High School, Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School and Lawrence Early College High School for Science and Technologies.
What Early College High Schools exist in Indiana?
Indiana is home to 20 Early College programs across the state.
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (Columbus East & North High Schools), Columbus
Ben Davis University High School, Indianapolis
Bloomington High School North, Bloomington
Bloomington High School South, Bloomington
Center Grove High School, Greenwood
Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, Indianapolis
Connersville High School, Connersville
Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, Indianapolis
Decatur Central High School, Indianapolis
Early College Academy @ Arsenal Tech, Indianapolis
Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, Evansville
Fall Creek Academy, Indianapolis
Franklin Community High School, Franklin
Herron High School, Indianapolis
Lawrence Early College for Science and Technologies, Indianapolis
Richmond High School, Richmond
Riley High School, South Bend
Washington High School, Washington
Western Crossroads Consortium, Clayton
Whiteland Community High School, Whiteland
Published: February 2009