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Charter Schools and Early College High Schools – A Perfect Match!. Pineywoods Community Academy PARAMUS Early College High School December 11, 2013. Not that long ago, in a place not too far from here, something really unexpected happened….

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charter schools and early college high schools a perfect match

Charter Schools and Early College High Schools – A Perfect Match!

Pineywoods Community Academy

PARAMUS Early College High School

December 11, 2013


Not that long ago, in a place not too far from here, something really unexpected happened…

A PCA Timberwolf came knocking on the Angelina College Roadrunner’s door!

how we got started
How we got started …

Began application process in 2009-2010 school year

Obtained letters of support from Angelina College Board of Regents and Pineywoods Board of Directors

Provisionally designated as an ECHS for the 2010-2011 school year

Started with 44 students

Currently 143 students participate in the ECHS program

purpose of early college high schools in texas
Purpose of Early College High Schools in Texas

To target at-risk students and provide them with an opportunity to earn 60 college credit hours or an Associates degree at an institute of higher education (IHE)

early college high schools in texas
Early College High Schools in Texas
  • 59/1200 HS in Texas currently have an ECHS Designation
  • The instructional design is developed using the research-based Common Instructional Framework for College Readiness
  • Program design elements are based on TEC §29.908
objectives of the echs program
Objectives of the ECHS Program

Create a means to higher education, focusing on

  • First-generation, college-going students
  • English Language Learners
  • Potential drop-out students
  • Economically disadvantaged students
objectives of the echs program1
Objectives of the ECHS Program

Classes are taught at the junior college or university

Students are provided with academic counseling and support to help them to be successful

Students are taught study and organizational skills essential for post secondary readiness

objectives of the echs program2
Objectives of the ECHS Program

All in order to provide dual credit at no cost to all students!

echs design elements
ECHS Design Elements
  • Targeted populations, including
    • students at risk of dropping out
    • English language learners
    • economically disadvantaged students
    • traditionally underrepresented populations
    • first generation college students

Are served using high-stakes strategies such as

echs design elements1
ECHS Design Elements

Smaller class sizes

Personalized attention

Lasting peer and teacher relationships

Shadow classes

Providing a “college-going” culture

A blended high school and college curriculum

Exposure to all educational disciplines

echs design elements2
ECHS Design Elements

Strong partnership with a solid MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the IHE

Opportunities (spelled out in the MOU) for the ECHS and IHE to collaborate through planning, teaching, and professional development

echs design elements3
ECHS Design Elements
  • College curriculum and rigorous coursework
  • TSI – ready students
  • Course selection that allows students to
    • Earn an Associates degree
    • Be Core Complete (complete 60 hours of coursework )
    • Earn certifications including LVN, RN, Welding, Diesel Mechanics, Child Care, and Cosmetology
echs design elements4
ECHS Design Elements
  • Unique School Design
    • Stand alone campus
    • Full day program
    • All services provided at the ECHS campus
echs design elements5
ECHS Design Elements
  • Traditional Support Structures, including
    • Mandatory tutorials
    • Summer bridge program
    • WOLF Camp
    • Participation in college clubs and activities
    • College visits
    • ROAR program to support study skills
    • Job shadowing
echs design elements6
ECHS Design Elements
  • Non-traditional Support Structures, including
    • Certified instructor serving as facilitator for online courses
    • 1:1 laptop initiative for ECHS students to assist in completing coursework
    • Innovative course structures, including mini-courses, specialized tutorials, and E2020 courses
program evaluation is essential
Program Evaluation is Essential

Comprehensive evaluation is conducted each semester to examine student performance

Performance is evaluated by student, by course, and by instructional arrangement

Instructional arrangements include traditional (face to face) courses, online courses, and hybrid courses (online course with a weekly seminar)

paramus course articulation
PARAMUS Course Articulation

HB 5 has added some flexibility to the course articulation, especially in regards to the 4th English class as well as 4th science and math classes

by the way what does all of this cost
By the way – what does all of this cost?

Fall 2013 Semester Charges - $100,089 for 124 students taking an average of 9 semester hours = $807 per student

9 semester hours is equivalent to 3 high school classes; 3 classes x 104 students = 3.5 teachers (approximate load of 20 students per high school class)

3.5 teachers @ $47,000 annually = $164,500 or $82,250 per semester

by the way what does all of this cost1
By the way – what does all of this cost?

For PCA, four additional classrooms would need to be leased x $500/month = $24,000 annually/$12,000 per semester

Per semester cost $82,250+$12,000 = $94,250,000/124 = $760 per student

Compared to ECHS cost of $807 per student, ECHS costs PCA $47 more per student than traditional HS program – it’s worth it!

by the way what does all of this cost2
By the way – what does all of this cost?

Cost per student doesn’t include sub costs and any other facility overhead expenses.

Program is paid out of 420 (Charter School General Revenue Fund)

Staff Development is paid out of 255 (Title IIA) funds

1 1 technology initiative
1:1 Technology Initiative

Spending part of the day at Angelina College, we realized that our students had to have access to technology to complete assignments

We leased 105 laptops from Lenovo for $1300 per month for a 36 month lease using REAP funds (equates to $445 per laptop total cost)

$1 buyout per machine at the end of the lease

  • Age
  • Grades
  • Communication and Feedback—Early Alerts for failing grades
  • Safety
  • Attendance
challenge 1 age
Challenge 1 – Age

Some AC instructors think high school students don’t belong in college

ECHS must provide social and emotional support

challenge 2 grade monitoring
Challenge 2 – Grade Monitoring

Blackboard system not used by all teachers

ECHS has limited access to grade reports

FERPAs are signed and maintained for all students

challenge 3 communication
Challenge 3 – Communication

Communication and feedback—early alerts for failing grades are essential

Avoiding failing grades and course drops is the goal of early alerts

challenge 4 safety
Challenge 4 – Safety

Academic, social, and emotional safety is the key

Bullying happens – even at the college level

challenge 4 safety1
Challenge 4 - Safety

To be treated like college students, you have to act like college students. Juniors and seniors can wear regular dress; freshman and sophomores must wear uniform dress to be identified as PCA students

challenge 5 attendance
Challenge 5 - Attendance

There are lots of ways to take attendance – and we have tried them all.

It’s challenging to know where your students are all the time.

ensuring success
Ensuring Success
  • It’s helpful to have
    • Principal dedicated to ECHS (required)
    • IHE Liaison dedicated to ECHS
    • Advisory Board dedicated to ECHS
    • Instructors dedicated to ECHS
where we are 4 years later
Where we are 4 years later

104 students in enrolled in online coursework as well as face to face classes

6 students (sophomores and juniors invited to Phi Beta Kappa, National Junior College Honor Society

5 students (out of 20 graduates) earned Associates degree in 2013

7 students are slated for dual degree in 2014

Students will also earn certificates in welding, diesel mechanics, and cosmetology