Andrea Mulkey, Marie Segares and Regina Paul are all very familiar with Early College High Schools. The three met each other through their work with the Smart Scholars Early College High School Program in New York, which helped institutions of higher education (IHEs) partner with public school districts to create early college high schools. In an episode of NYCollegeChat, Marie and Regina interviewed Andrea about the benefits of Early College programs.

Andrea, the National Director of Strategic Partnerships for EDWorks, talked about the successes students have had because of taking college classes while still in high school. She spoke to the power of Early College in how it offers personalized plans for each student, reaching underserved student populations including students from families without college experience, low-income, English language learners and students of color.

Listen to the complete interview with Andrea on NYCollegeChat.

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There are two high schools in Detroit. One school has all the resources needed to ensure students are headed to college after graduation. The other is more focused on keeping students in school.

On the nprED blog, “How Learning Happens,” Erin Einhorn compares these two high schools. It is a classic example of the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

Andrea Jackson is the sole guidance counselor at Osborn Collegiate Academy of Math, Science and Technology, the “Have-Not” school. While Jackson wants the best for her students, she admits that, “You cannot come into these type of communities and just say, ‘Hey! You’re going to college,’ because, first off, they don’t believe you.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Jackson is correct. But the conversation needn’t end there.

If students are not college-ready, have we really addressed the problem?We hear a lot about needing to have access to college for all. However, when the conversation moves to ways to get first-generation, low-income students into college, the conversation quickly turns to “not those kids.” Solutions like adding AP or Dual Enrollment are popular fixes, but do not typically account for the personalization and supports that first-generation college-goers frequently need. It is not enough to help students graduate from high school with a few college credits under their belt. If they are not college-ready, have we really addressed the problem?

The solution is simple: Early College High School.

Looking across the EDWorks network of partner schools, I see firsthand the success of Early College. I have had students tell me their stories of watching the dream of college become a reality. The data shows the model works. Students can graduate with a high school diploma and have 60 credit hours or a two year degree and/or a career credential that will allow them to be immediately employable.

Within the EDWorks Early College model, schools are developed so that each student has multiple supports: teachers, administrators, parents and the community. This shifts the responsibility from one person to many and helps ensure that all students are headed for success.

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Encouraging Policymakers to Stand Up for ECHS

February 3, 2015

EDWorks Early College High Schools offer traditionally underserved students the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit before college graduation. In a nation where employers struggle to find employees with the right credentials, leaving more than 3.5 million unfilled job positions, ECHS is a good way to prepare students for life beyond […]

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Seeing Early College Students Fully Integrated Into Their College Experience

January 12, 2015
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After listening to colleagues describe how at-risk, low-income, first-generation college going students are graduating high school with a 2-year degree along with their diploma, I was eager to go and learn more. A visit to Akron Early College High School offered me that opportunity! Walking through the doors of the Polsky Building on the University […]

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Free Community College: Opening the Doors to Higher Education for Everyone

January 9, 2015
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“Here in America, we don’t guarantee equal outcomes…but we do expect that everybody gets an equal shot,” said President Obama in Knoxville, Tennessee, during a speech earlier today. The subject of the President’s speech was a proposed policy to make community college tuition-free, opening the doors to higher education for everyone. President Obama’s interest in […]

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Blogging Highlights from 2014

December 24, 2014

This year has been a busy one for EDWorks. Check out some of our blogging highlights from the year: Recognizing Success at Akron Early College High School: Kwame Boakye Kwame Boakye, a student at Akron ECHS, is on track to earn his associate degree by the time he graduates from high school. He’ll be the […]

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