What is ECHS?
Early College High Schools are partnerships between school districts and colleges that are innovatively designed to blend high school and college education using a dual credit framework.
The schools are designed for youth to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree (or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree).
Several national studies have found that secondary students who attended early college high schools (ECHS) graduated, enrolled in college, earned college credit, and attained associate degrees at significantly higher rates than their peers in traditional public schools.
Since 2008, the Alamo Colleges and three local school districst – San Antonio ISD, Judson ISD, and Comal ISD – have produced much stronger performance outcomes than their national counterparts. In 2013, 82% of Alamo Colleges ECHS graduates attained an associate degree or technical certificate in addition to their high school diploma, which 350% higher than the national average. Additionally, Alamo Colleges’ ECHS graduates earned an average number of 58 college credits – 22 average college credits or 61% more than the national average.
Palo Alto College
Beginning in Fall 2014, Palo Alto College, one the Alamo Colleges, will partner with five public school districts and one charter school, to begin enrolling freshman-level students in early college high schools. Students participating in the program can compete their high school diploma while earning up to 60 semester credit hours toward an associates degree by their high school graduation. All initiatives have been approved and designated by Texas Education Agency and there is no cost to students enrolled in the program. Palo Alto College’s partnering school districts include the following: