(WACO) – Texas State Technical College in Waco will continue to partner with two area school districts and a public independent charter school this fall as part of early college high schools.
“Since the students are part of an early college high school, there is no charge to the student,” said Sheryl Kattner-Allen, a manager in Dual Enrollment Operations at TSTC. “The school districts pick up all the costs. TSTC benefits students by helping them to complete their degrees and get placed in the workforce.”
Texas has more than 150 early college high schools, according to the Texas Education Agency.
The TEA has given approval for the La Vega Independent School District to have an early college high school for the second year at La Vega High School. This partnership also includes McLennan Community College. La Vega students who apply for the program can choose which associate degree track to pursue at either of the colleges.
“We are really blessed at La Vega ISD in where we are and have access to colleges and opportunities for our students,” said Elicia Krumnow, director of the early college high school at La Vega ISD. “The relationship with TSTC goes back a while through our Career and Technology Education programs.”
The La Vega Early College High School had 50 freshmen who this academic year will be sophomores. For the upcoming academic year, it accepted 69 incoming freshmen.
“There is an application process and we have populations that we target based on the standards given by the state,” said Krumnow. “Our district is a Title I district and some of our students are economically disadvantaged. We also target students that are underrepresented at the college level. Black males are underrepresented along with minority students – minority females in particular. We also target students that are English-language learners or first-generation college goers.”
TSTC will start its third year with the Connally Independent School District for Connally Career Tech Early College High School for students to earn associate degrees and high school diplomas concurrently.
Connally Career Tech focuses on TSTC’s technical careers for its students, said Principal Hermann Pereira. This year’s early college high school will begin with 120 Connally students, five teachers, one counselor and one principal.
“We are recruiting students who have a passion for career and technology fields,” Pereira said.
TSTC has its longest early college high school partnership with Rapoport Academy in Waco. Students take the Texas Success Initiative assessment between eighth and ninth grades and begin taking college-level courses at TSTC or MCC. This year, Rapoport Academy will have 160 high school students taking college-level classes at TSTC and MCC, Superintendent Alexis Neumann said.
Neumann credited TSTC with being an innovator in forging early college high school connections.
“The students get what they need and what they are interested in,” Neumann said.
For additional information on Texas’ early college high schools, go to tea.texas.gov/curriculum/echs/.