Early College Approved for High School
Earlier this month at the June 14 Colorado State Board of Education meeting, state officials approved the Lake County School District’s (LCSD) application to begin an early college at Lake County High School (LCHS).
“We have been working hard over the past few years to ensure that a greater number of LCHS students have access to concurrent enrollment at Colorado Mountain College (CMC),” stated School Superintendent Dr. Wendy Wyman.
And so another carrot is added to the school choice plate. There’s no doubt for Leadville high school students, the opportunity to graduate with a h.s. diploma as well as an associate degree is highly attractive, both financially and academically. On average, tuition for public two-year colleges costs $3,000/year, which doesn’t include room and board. Calculate the final price tag and the pot is sweetened significantly for students choosing to stay local and graduate from high school in Leadville.
For readers unfamiliar with the early college program, Leadville Today reached out to State Board of Education, Third Congressional District Representative Joyce Rankin for details. She provided the following statute:
Per §22-35-103(10)(g), the State Board can designate a secondary school as an early college. Early colleges as designated by §22-35-103(10) means a secondary school that provides only a curriculum that is designed in a manner that ensures that a student who successfully completes the curriculum will have completed either an associate’s degree or sixty credits toward the completion of a postsecondary credential.
“We have already had a number of students earn their associate degrees while also earning their high school diploma,” explained Wyman.
So how does it work? The early college will support 11th and/or 12th grade students who are interested in pursuing their associate degree along with their high school diploma. The program is aligned with our updated graduation requirements and will continue to increase access to higher education.
According to Dr. Wyman, the new LCSD graduation requirements are built on three components:
- Each student will create an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP);
- Students will participate in a core sequence of courses in 9th and 10th grades; and
- Students will have ample time for ICAP-driven courses, college coursework and career exploration in 11th and 12th grades.
The Early College will be housed at the LCHS campus. Students who are enrolled will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree or 60 hours of college coursework. Combine that with the impressive list of scholarships that is distributed at Class Day every May ($437,000 in 2017) and the school choice plate just got a whole lot more colorful with all those delicious orange carrots of higher education stacked up, waiting for Back To School, which is only weeks away! Enjoy the rest of your summer until then!