Challenge Early College High School at Houston Community College SW (Texas), a MCNC Member school, is one of this year’s winners of the prestigious U.S. Blue Ribbon award which is eagerly sought by public and private schools across the country. To qualify, schools must be serving a population that has previously been underserved by their schools. The Blue Ribbon Award rewards schools that have increased student achievement and narrowed the achievement gap. This is aligned with President Obama’s goal of making education the lynchpin to improving the U.S. economy and closing the achievement gap. Challenge joins previous MCNC Blue Ribbon award winners: Middle College HS at Santa Ana College, Middle College HS at San Joaquin Delta College, Greenville Technical Charter High School at Greenville Technical College, Harbor Teacher Preparatory Academy at Los Angeles Harbor College and Middle College High School at Contra Costa College. Cecilia Cunningham, founder and director of MCNC, stated that Challenge ECHS has been successful because “The faculty and administration not only deeply care about their students, but they have immersed themselves in professional development to improve their practice. The results of this hard work can be seen in their college going rate. In the 2009-2010 school year 75% of Challenge’s graduating class enrolled in a four year college and 20% in a two year college.” Dr. Cunningham added that “Justin Fuentes, the former principal of Challenge, and his successor, Tonya Miller, are perfect examples of the difference good leadership can make.”
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