Making the Dream of College Attainable: Celebrating Early College High Schools

Topics: Early College High School, Education Policy, ESSA

Beginning next week, we will be celebrating National Early College High School Week. You can learn more about KnowledgeWorks Early College High Schools by reading our blog to see stories of current and past students, who perhaps best exemplify the potential of Early College High Schools.

KnowledgeWorks Early College High Schools provide the necessary support for first-generation college goers to help them succeed.

“In most cases, first-generation college goers have a difficult path through education,” said Harold Brown. “Early College High Schools open them up to the potential for college credits – for free and while they’re still in high school! It proves that they are ‘college material,’ even if others say differently or they lack the confidence on their own.”

At Toledo Early College High School, Lauren Merrell graduated as her class valedictorian. A first-generation college goer, she graduated high school with her diploma and enough college credits to allow her to enter the University of Toledo as a junior. While in college she experienced personal setbacks that affected her schoolwork. Using a skill Lauren learned while attending Toledo Early College High School, to ask for support and help when it was necessary, she turned to the University’s peer mentorship program and people rallied to help. She was able to get back on track at school and later became a peer mentor herself.

Recent reports have shown that Early College High School students are 30% less likely to need remediation in college than the national average. The evidence-based model for KnowledgeWorks schools provides each student with a personalized learning plan and the support they need to succeed.

When Terrance Truitt was taking college level classes while attending Canton Early College High School, the high school’s supports were essential to giving him the skills he needed. When college coursework got difficult, he went to his high school staff for help. “The teachers did a lot more than they had to,” Terrance said.

Canton Early College High School helped bring Terrance closer to his dream of working in criminal justice more quickly than he could have imagined. He graduated high school with both his diploma and his associate degree as well as plans to attend the University of Cincinnati, where he would be able to graduate at age 20 with a bachelor’s degree.

In an increasingly competitive job market and as college tuitions rise, schools like KnowledgeWorks schools make a four-year degree more attainable. Early College High School students are able to earn up to 60 college credits, the equivalent of an associate degree, while still in high school, giving them a jump start on their college career.

For students like Kwame Boakye, a senior at Akron Early College High School, the jump start is further motivation to succeed. He is on track to earn his Associate in Arts Degree from The University of Akron by the time he graduates from high school. He will be the first in his family to earn a college degree. From there, he will be attending The University of Akron working towards a bachelor’s degree on a full scholarship, in their College of Business.