PAC launches four Early College High Schools
Palo Alto College, one of the Alamo Colleges, held a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch four new Early College High School partnerships on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.
Palo Alto College has partnered with Harlandale ISD, Southside ISD, Somerset ISD (in partnership with Poteet and Lytle ISDs), and New Frontiers Charter School, to begin enrolling freshman-level students in early college high schools (ECHS) for Fall 2014. Students enrolled at an ECHS will have an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree or up to 60 hours of college credits toward a bachelor’s degree, while also earning their high school diploma.
“Palo Alto College has provided educational access to the community for nearly 30 years,” said Dr. Mike Flores, president of Palo Alto College. "Launching four new Early College High Schools in south San Antonio and Bexar County ensures that Palo Alto College will continue to provide access to higher education for thousands of students in the future."
Palo Alto College’s four ECHS partnerships join three others in the Alamo Colleges: Travis Early College High School with San Antonio College (SAISD); Judson Early College Academy with Northeast Lakeview College (Judson ISD); and Memorial Early College High School with St. Philip’s College (Comal ISD). In 2013, 82% of Alamo Colleges’ ECHS graduates attained an associate degree, certificate, or two years of college credits toward a bachelor degree – over three times higher than the national average of 23%.
Guests participating in the ceremony included Dr. Mike Flores; Anna Bustamante, Chair of the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees; Dr. Yvonne Katz, Vice Chair of the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees; Sen. Carlos Uresti, Dist. 19, Texas State Senate; John Quiñones, ABC News; and key representatives from the ECHS partnering school districts.
Quiñones, a San Antonio-native, joined the scholar-mentor team for Catch the Next in 2014. Catch the Next, which aims for Latino and high-need students to succeed in and graduate from college, supports learning models like the Puente Program, which launched at Palo Alto College in Fall 2012. As the newest member of the Catch the Next team, Quiñones also addressed incoming ECHS and Puente students, administrators, faculty, and staff with a 30-minute lecture in the College’s Performing Arts Center.