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Early College High School News

Issue No. 3, July 2007



IN THIS ISSUE:

1. CREATING AND SUSTAINING EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOLS
    The New Early College High School Initiative Web site
•    Early College High School:
     Opportunity for a Lifetime
•   Evaluation of the Early College High School Initiative
     Select Topics on Implementation
•   Rigor Plus Support:
     How Science Teachers Use Literacy Techniques to Get Students Ready for College

 

2. THE POLICY PAGE
•    Graduation Promise Act Introduced
•    Connecticut Governor Lauds University High School
•    Bill Gates Tells U.S. Senate of Need for Dramatic Changes
•    North Carolina State of the State Address Highlights Early College High School
•    Georgia Increases Support for Early College High School
•    Colorado to Create a Dual Credit Program
 

3. THE EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL FRONTLINES
•    Four Students Receive Major National Honor
•    Teaching Persistence and Resiliency at East Palo Alto Academy
•    Report Highlights Working Conditions in High Schools
•    Ferndale High School Helps Native Students Achieve
•    Partner News from KnowledgeWorks
•    Middle College High School at Erie Community College Featured
•    At-Risk Students Flourish at Riverside Gateway to College

 

4. RESOURCES FROM THE FIELD
•    Rigor at Risk: Reaffirming Quality in the High School Core Curriculum
•    College Readiness for All:
     A Forum on University Engagement, Small School Structures, and Public Policy
•    The Challenge of College Readiness
 

5. ECHS IN THE NEWS: RECENT HIGHLIGHTS


1. CREATING AND SUSTAINING EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOLS


•    
The New Early College High School Initiative Web site

www.earlycolleges.org is designed for educators and school developers within and beyond the initiative. Go to the Web site for links to the schools, core initiative documents, resources for creating early college high schools, issue briefs on public policy issues, and more.


•  
 Early College High School: Opportunity for a Lifetime

Coming Soon at www.earlycolleges.org: Early College High Schools: Opportunity for a Lifetime, a new video prepared by Public Interest and Jobs for the Future, features schools in Los Angeles, California; Brooklyn, New York; and Spindale, North Carolina. In this inspiring, seven-minute video, students tell the story of how early college high schools motivate young people to stay in school, work hard, and meet serious intellectual challenges.

A draft of the video was released in May, at the National Summit on America’s Silent Epidemic. The day-long event was spearheaded by MTV, Time Magazine, Civic Enterprises, the National Governors Association, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


•    
Evaluation of the Early College High School Initiative:
     Select Topics on Implementation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has commissioned American Institutes for Research and SRI International to evaluate the Early College High School Initiative and to issue an ongoing series of reports. The evaluations are based on surveys, interviews, and site visits. According to the most recent evaluation, the initiative “is proceeding apace, with good progress in developing local partnerships, opening a critical mass of [early college high schools], and growing multiple levels of professional learning communities that will help sustain the initiative into the future.”


•    
Rigor Plus Support:
     How Science Teachers Use Literacy Techniques to Get Students Ready for College

Early college high schools constantly work to develop the right mix of academic supports to make an accelerated curriculum for every student. By focusing on a few good literacy practices in every class, faculty aim to increase rigor and support—simultaneously. This report highlights three early college high school science teachers whose practices build students’ skills in reading, writing, and thinking and increase students’ ability to understand rigorous content and solve problems like scientists.

 

2. THE POLICY PAGE

•    Graduation Promise Act Introduced

In April, the Graduation Promise Act, designed to improve high schools and reduce dropout rates, was introduced by U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Health, Education, Pensions, and Labor Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA). The legislation calls for the federal government to support states, districts, and high schools in targeted efforts to help all students stay in school and graduate ready for college and work. It was proposed by JFF, the Center for American Progress, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and the National Council of La Raza, and is supported by many education organizations across the country.

•    Connecticut Governor Lauds University High School

“I firmly believe that we are making history today with this unprecedented commitment to education,” declared Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell in her 2007 state budget address. “It is our obligation as government leaders. It is our call to leadership. And we need look no further than into the eyes of the future—the eyes of our students. Some of whom are with us today. I would ask the students from the University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford to stand. They are why we need to invest in education. They are our future. Let us pass this program for them—and for all our students.”

•    Bill Gates Tells U.S. Senate of Need for Dramatic Changes

On March 7, 2007, Bill Gates, testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, observed that high schools are failing to adapt to societal changes. He urged a focus on standards, measurements and data, and called for additional supports for teachers. Gates highlighted early college high schools as a groundbreaking approach that forces policymakers and practitioners to rethink education.

•   North Carolina State of the State Address Highlights Early College High School

In his 2007 State of the State Address, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley reflected on the state’s struggles in the new economy—and highlighted its progress resulting from investments in education. North Carolina plans to build 75 Learn & Earn early college high schools by 2008-09. In addition, the governor has set a goal that all North Carolina students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree by the time they leave high school. Moreover, the state will pay for two additional years of college so that students who earn an Associate’s degree through Learn & Earn also finish college at a state university.

•    Georgia Increases Support for Early College High School

The Chancellor Erroll B. Davis, Jr., of the University System of Georgia has allocated $1.2 million in his FY 2008 budget for new early college high schools. The Board of Regents plans to award five planning grants for the coming year, for schools that would open in fall 2008. If funding continues each year, Georgia will have an additional 21 early college high schools open by fall 2015.

•    Colorado to Create a Dual Credit Program

Recent legislation in Colorado mandates the creation of the Fast College Fast Jobs pilot program. The program will allow students at targeted high schools to simultaneously complete a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or career and technical education certificate in five years, beginning in the ninth grade. The program targets districts with a graduation rate of less than 75 percent.

 

3. THE EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL FRONTLINES

•    Four Students Receive Major National Honor

    Of the 1,000 high school graduates nationwide honored as Gates Millennium Scholars this year, four are from early college high schools: Marquita Hardy from Friendship Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, DC; Linkai Jiang from International High School at La Guardia Community College in New York, NY; Jayson Jones from STAR Early College High School in Brooklyn, NY; and Raya Wall from the Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science in Salt Lake City, UT.

    The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholars program is to promote academic excellence and provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. With this support, students can attend the college of their choice without the financial burden that can often prevent many highly qualified young people from pursuing a college education.
For more information, see the Gates Millennium Scholars Web site. http://www.gmsp.org/


•    Teaching Persistence and Resiliency at East Palo Alto Academy

East Palo Alto Academy High School in California focuses on developing “student efficacy”—the power of students to learn how to be persistent and resilient in the face of many odds. This early college high school, working with Cañada College and Stanford University, builds student efficacy through trust, high expectations, and extensive support. It also brings parents into the process of preparing their children for college, mobilizing such factors as a parent’s immigrant status, job setting, income, and educational background. This is the first in a series of briefs from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation on promising practices in its network of early college high schools.


•    Report Highlights Working Conditions in High Schools

Data collected and analyzed by the Center for Teaching Quality from more than 125,000 educators in North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio show powerful links between teachers’ working conditions and both teacher attrition rates and student achievement levels in elementary, middle, and particularly high schools. A new CTQ publication, Teaching and Learning Conditions Improve High School Reform Efforts, describes how redesigned schools and early college high schools in North Carolina provide working conditions for teachers that contribute to rigor, relevance and relationships, ensuring that all students develop skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and innovation.


•    Ferndale High School Helps Native Students Achieve

Christina Twu, writing in ColorsNW Magazine, tells of the success of Ferndale High School near the Lummi Reservation in Bellingham, Washington. Supported by the Center for Native Education, the school’s dropout rates for Native high school students “decreased from 69 percent to 16 percent after the first semester. . . . Even when Native students were taking more challenging early college courses, grade point averages also rose after the program was implemented.”


•    Partner News from KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks Foundation has joined forces with organizations and individuals across Ohio in an effort led by Governor Ted Strickland to find ways to close the achievement gap for African-American males.
Click here for more information.

Teaming up with the Institute For The Future, KnowledgeWorks has created the KWF/IFTF Map of Future Forces Affecting Education. Developed by aggregating the opinions of relevant experts, the map provides a nuanced view of how future forces will affect the components of public education. It is designed to spark thinking about education.
Click here for more information.


•    Middle College High School at Erie Community College Featured

In March, early college high school was the focus when On Board, the newsletter of the New York State School Board, looked at “Schools Today.” Using Middle College High School at Erie Community College in Buffalo as the model, the article detailed how early college high schools seek to boost college-going and college graduation rates.


•    At-Risk Students Flourish at Riverside Gateway to College

In May, a feature article in California Educator looked at the Gateway to College early college high school model that “allows dropouts to earn their high school diplomas and college credit at the same time.” As Peter Kalnin, a Riverside Gateway to College teacher noted, “Kids who don’t like the rigidly traditional high school environment sometimes respond better to the challenge that college provides them because they are treated like adults instead of children.”

 

4. RESOURCES FROM THE FIELD

•    Rigor at Risk: Reaffirming Quality in the High School Core Curriculum

ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks, a set of national college readiness indicators, show that three out of four ACT-tested 2006 high school graduates who take a core curriculum are not prepared to take credit-bearing, entry-level college courses with a reasonable chance of succeeding in those courses. ACT research also suggests that students today do not have a reasonable chance of becoming ready for college unless they take a number of additional higher-level courses beyond the minimum core, and that even students who do take these additional higher-level courses are not always likely to be ready for college either.


•    College Readiness for All:
     A Forum on University Engagement, Small School Structures, and Public Policy

Recognizing the urgent need to improve college opportunities for underserved students in California, 75 leaders from public education, nonprofit organizations, and the philanthropic community discussed how the University of California at Berkeley can play a lead role in making college readiness a reality for all students. For example, the university is a partner in the California College Preparatory Academy, an early college high school in the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation network. The forum report focuses on three key questions: What are the policy implications of college readiness for all students? Where are the possibilities for mutual learning and collaboration? Where and how can the university add value?


•    The Challenge of College Readiness

Writing in Educational Leadership, David T. Conley, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research, summarizes research that shows a mismatch between high school preparation and college expectations. He asks how high schools can prepare students for college success—and he offers strategies that can help high schools increase the numbers of college-ready students.

 

5. ECHS IN THE NEWS: RECENT HIGHLIGHTS

Listed here are recent highlights from among the many articles about early college high schools appearing in the media in recent months. Click here for a more extensive listing.

•    Hope High: Downtown Charter School Graduates Its First Senior Class
Los Angeles (CA) Downtown News, June 28, 2007
“Nestled in the Financial District, CALS Early College High School has for the past four years been an unusual learning experiment in an even more unlikely location. This week, the charter school hits a milestone, as it graduates its first class of seniors.”


•    New York City Principals Choose School Support
New York City Department of Education, June 28, 2007
“City University of New York, an Early College High School Initiative partner, was one of eleven organizations selected by New York City principals to be School Support Organizations. These are organizations that the principals have determined will help their students succeed.”

•    Early College High School Programs Causing Some Teachers to Go Back to School
The (McAllen, TX) Monitor, June 18, 2007
“High school teachers are rushing back to graduate school to keep ahead of students who are getting college degrees as they finish high school.”

•    Conference Examines Ingredients for Student Success in College
University of Connecticut Advance, June 16, 2007
“Elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and policy makers will have to work together to ensure that more students make a successful transition from high school to college. That’s the word from Michael Collins, program director at Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit research, consulting, and advocacy organization.”

•    Siletz Celebrates First High School Graduation Since 1982
Newport (OR) News-Times, June 13, 2007
“In the end, everything fell into place, and the founders of Siletz Valley Early College Academy reached another major milestone by bidding a fond farewell to the first class to graduate from the Siletz school in 25 years.”

•    Ohio School Fears Cuts Will Rewrite Its Success Story
Lakeland (OH) Magazine, June 4, 2007
This article, which appeared originally in the New York Times on June 1, describes the success of Ohio’s Dayton Early College Academy, where the 32 students who graduated were mostly from low-income families, and few of their parents had gone to college.

•    Student Finished High School, Davidson County Community College in the Same Week
Lexington (NC) Dispatch, May 26, 2007
“Alyson Anderson was one of Patrick Mingus’ students in an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) seminar at Davidson Early College High School. ‘But she didn't need that,’ Mingus said. She was already determined.”

•    Stepping Up
Eureka (CA) Reporter, May 19, 2007

“Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for an 18-year-old who may be setting off on his or her own for the first time. But the transition can be even more challenging for a 14-year-old adjusting to the social and academic undergraduate environment as a freshman in high school.”

•    Stanly County School Wins National Award
Concord (NC) Independent Tribune, May 8, 2007

“Stanly County Schools has won the prestigious Magna Award, a national award from the American School Board Journal and Sodexho School Services for Stanly Early College High School, which targets first generation college students and/or those who might have otherwise dropped out.”

•    Atlanta Schools Get $10.5 Million
WXIA-TV, Atlanta, GA, April 4, 2007
“Atlanta Public Schools is getting more than $10.5 million dollars to completely transform two of its low-performing high schools. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants to see more large schools turned into smaller learning academies.”

•    Tucson Schools Named “Best in Class”
Tucson (AZ) Citizen, March 26, 2007
Luz-Guererro Early College was one of three schools to receive the Best in Class award, determined by a study conducted by Arizona State University, the Arizona Department of Education, and Prism Decision Systems LLC.

•    Helping Dropouts Break the Cycle of Poverty
National Public Radio, March 20, 2007

“If you come from a poor family, you are more likely to drop out of high school. And if you drop out and stay out of high school, you are more likely to be poor. In Portland, Ore., one program is designed to break this cycle by helping dropouts finish their education.” The program highlighted in this NPR story is Portland Community College’s Gateway to College.