Buffalo ECHS Students Make a Strong Case

Principal Susan Doyle, BECHS Students meet the Trustees

Principal Susan Doyle, BECHS Students meet the Trustees

Economic realities have changed since the Early College movement started in the late 1990s. Easy partnerships between school districts and colleges, with shared vision and resources, have come under the knife as space means dollars and state and federal funding sources have shied away from paying for tuition, textbooks, and the necessary supports to help struggling students. With these cutbacks many of MCNC early and middle college high schools have seen diminished course opportunities for students, and some have had to fight to remain on the college campus itself. We have watched as one early colleges in Orange County closed and in Memphis, Tennessee moved from campus to campus to remain a viable institution. Now Buffalo Early College High School is struggling to remain on the campus of Erie Community College at least till it can negotiate a firm MOU with SUNY to find a permanent home.

BECHS, which serves students in grades 9-13 and opened in 2003, has moved changed locations several times, despite its recognition for success. The school is a recipient of a Smart Scholars Grant from New York State. Through the Smart Scholars Early College High School Program, institutions of higher education (IHEs) partner with public school districts to create early college high schools that provide students with the opportunity and preparation to accelerate the completion of their high school studies while earning a minimum of twenty but up to sixty transferable college credits at the same time.
This program is targeted to students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education. Students receive additional academic support from the school/college partnerships to ensure they are at grade level and ready to participate in rigorous high school and collegiate courses. This “dual or concurrent enrollment” program serves to increase high school graduation and college completion rates, while reducing student tuition costs as a result of the compressed time needed to complete a college degree.

BECHS students fit the profile of most urban adolescents. They enter the school with a multitude concerns ranging from poverty, single parent homes, neighborhood violence and weak academic preparation. Yet an overwhelming number of students find success and new hope at BECHS. They form closeknit peer groups with similar academic goals, support through hard working, dedicated teachers and real opportunities for challenge and career preparation. The proposed relocation of the school adds additional challenges that may be too difficult to overcome. If they are moved to the off campus location they will share space with a 5th-8th grade school. Their schedule will not align with the college schedule, making attendance and on time arrival difficult for seniors registered for college classes. The distance between the proposed site and the college is at least fifteen minutes away and requires a car or bus for transport.

There have been many meetings with parents since the school was informed they would have to move. At this time parents are optimistic that the Board will rescind the decision to move the school and grant a stay of one year to find permanent space.

In early June as all hope was fading, Principal Susan Doyle was invited to attend a meeting of the Board of Trustees with four Buffalo Early College Students to plead their case for an extension of temporary housing on the ECC campus
Andrea Mulkey, invited Ms. Doyle and the students to speak to the Board of Trustees at a meeting to discuss grades 6-16 initiatives by virtue of their extraordinary performance in the program. Ms. Doyle shared the latest NCREST data with the panel demonstrating the high rate of success her students had in college classes and four students spoke.

The students included two 12th graders, Khollin Buchanan and Jessica McAdory, a fifth year student, Xaviera Ashley, who is currently taking classes at the community college and will attend University of Buffalo next year and Cordell Torres, an alumnus who is entering his senior year at Brockport and is on the Deans List. The students were able to speak from the diverse layers within this successful program; the struggles, support and accomplishment students who are at the school experience, the preparation and confidence that is built when students straddle between high school and college and the discipline and control they have developed as they transfer to 4 year colleges with half their credits completed.

Xaviera said:

“Middle college has taught me how to think critically, and solve problems. The program has also given me career options by walking me through degree possibilities. The faculty and staff have assisted me through the entire process and for that I am most grateful. If it had not been for their dedication to the students and program, I believe that I wouldn’t be in the great place that I am right now. Middle college assures educational stability. It taught me how to not only set a goal but how to achieve it. The program instilled a sense of maturity within myself. It assured in me not only academic structure but also confidence. This program has been a huge part of my journey in education and life.”

Cordell, the current University of Buffalo student, speaking of the personal relationships that are developed in a small, intimate setting focused on academic performance, added, “It’s not every day where people step in and help you stay on the right track when outside issues conflict heavily with school. I’m very thankful for the people who surrounded me and the staff that helped me get where I’m at today.”

When asked for recommendations about expanding or supporting middle and early college programs, Principal Doyle advocated putting an Early College in each district. The Chancellor said, “You are amazing. Your kids are amazing. This is what the audience needed to hear.”

Needless to say, Ms. Doyle was on point when she said, “The students tell the real story.” Let’s hope it is heard loud and clear.

Los Angeles Biology Teacher Breaks Through More Than Glass Ceilings

Hallmarks of STEM are hands on experiences with science, mathematics and technology. As educators we always say that modeling is the best way to engage students in the learning experience and Susan Goff, Biology teacher at LA SW Early College High School took this mantra to stratospheric heights. Last June, she overcame personal and logistical odds to be among the first group of teachers to fly on SOFIA. SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) that is based and managed at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) headquartered in Columbia and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart. The NASA SOFIA 747SP aircraft can scan infrared signals to study planetary atmospheres, comets and interstellar star chemistry.

Susan Goff speaks about her experience and why the once in a lifetime opportunity was so important for her students and herself.

Two years ago I came upon an application for this NASA program; it’s called the Stratospheric Program for Infrared Astronomy. And it’s actually a 747 airplane that has been converted to an airplane with a German telescope on board.
There are currently only two flying infrared observatories in the world and SOFIA is the largest. Germany has made the telescope and US has provided the 747 and altered it so that it ‘s a scientific research airplane.
Launched in 2010, SOFIA is a 20 year program and I joined their first cadre of teachers. I was very interested in Astrobiology. I’m a biology teacher, but I like to bring in astrobiology to the students when we are studying extremophiles and life in different environments. I wanted to apply but I needed a partner so I approached our new physics teacher, Cliff Gerstman. I went up to him and said, “I don’t want you to feel roped into anything, but would you be interested in applying to the SOFIA Program, and he was ecstatic. Ironically, he had been following SOFIA for 12 years before they even started converting the airplane. He had been creating lessons on pencil and paper for the program. They selected 26 educators across the US and we were selected. We had to take an astronomy course online, which was challenging because I was a biology teacher. In fact, it was the most difficult thing about the experience. I had to draw on mathematics I hadn’t used in years and learn science that was out of my field. I learned quite a bit. Shortly before we were scheduled for our flight, I was diagnosed with cancer, but I still wanted to go because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Though I was on a leave of absence, I continued to study, prepare and look forward to the experience.
Finally, last June we flew aboard SOFIA.
You fly at night and you fly for about 10-12 hours. You are in the stratosphere, about 26,000 feet in the air. You fly in the stratosphere because you want to be above the clouds and above the water vapor so you can take infrared photographs and measurements of the universe, other galaxies and black holes. The mission records star birth and death, formation of new solar systems, identification of complex molecules in space, and nebulae and dust in galaxies (or, Ecosystems of galaxies).

Along with the crew and the educators, there were professional scientists who go to do research. They were Physical Investigators from Cornell, Ithaca, and other universities. They pay for time aboard to take measurements for their research. They bring their own instruments on board. We had people from Cornell who were looking at a black hole. The most intriguing part of it was the collaborative nature of science and all the different parts; there were people involved in programming, chemistry, and physics. They weren’t necessarily astronomers. But they would take readings and crunch the numbers into programs to create the various pictures of the universe. When you’re up on SOFIA and you’re looking at planets you think that you are going to see something that looks like what you’ve seen in books. It’s not anything like that. It’s little dots that have a number and you’re disappointed. We learned that the information has to go through programmers who reconfigure it and write a program that shows you what the simulations would look like. The photos we see in newspapers and journals are created when programmers recalculate the math. The collaborative process is fascinating.

Unfortunately, something malfunctioned on the telescope and our trip was cut short. Our two-day flight was over after eight hours. They couldn’t make the necessary repairs in time to continue with our flight, but we had accomplished and learned enough to make the investment of time, energy and sacrifice well worth it. The most important part of the program is that we, as teachers, come back and share what we’ve learned about the electromagnetic spectrum; how it is present in our daily lives and how it has an impact on all areas of research. As teachers we need to raise awareness of engineering, math, and all the STEM disciplines because we’re trying to prepare students for jobs that, perhaps, are not even created yet. We want to prepare the students so they are really applying the math, the physics, the technology, using real time data and using the resources they have available through NASA. NASA has lots of aircraft that look at different aspects of space that are available to educators and students.

Susan Goff recommends: VOYAGES THROUGH TIME Curriculum, a multi year integrated science curriculum for 9-10 graders as an introductory Science Course which engages students in inquiry and multimedia exporation of all the sciences through the theme of Evolution or change over time. It is produced by SETI.

Fulfilling Promises: Winter 2014

Fulfulling Promises: Winter 2014


– See more at: http://www.mcnc.us/2013/11/fulfulling-promises-winter-2013/#sthash.hRw7Mkcb.UH45kr1W.dpuf

MATTIE ADAMS A Principal Who Lives by the Motto, “Through faith, all things are possible.”

Mattie Adams, Principal Harbor Teachers Preparation Academy

Mattie Adams, Principal Harbor Teachers Preparation Academy

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced their eighth Principal of the Day to be Mattie Adams-Robertson, the extraordinary leader of Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy (HTPA) on the campus of Los Angeles Harbor College.
Dr. Mattie Adams-Robertson opened Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in 2002. She had served the Los Angeles Unified School District as a successful mathematics teacher, counselor and assistant principal at Banning and Narbonne High Schools. In taking the job as principal of an Early College High School in the genesis of the era of dual enrollment high schools for under served populations, she marked herself as a pioneer, champion for all students, and early proponent of a movement that has spread throughout California and the country.
Now, HTPA, in it’s 12th year has a national reputation for graduating 55% of their students with a dual high school diploma and Associate Arts degree and 95% of it’s graduating seniors completing at least one year of college when they leave high school. During her tenure, Principal Adams says she’s consistently set high expectations for all students and staff, who continue their strides toward academic success. HTPA’s 2011 Statewide Rank and Similar School Rank is a “10/10” and the HTPA Academic Performing Index score is 931.

Visitors to the campus, located in portable trailers on college grounds, are greeted regularly by the charming Principal, who cares for their every need and comfort, while managing the many tasks required by the district, college administration and most especially the 437 students and families she serves. She counts among the many who have come to see high school students blending with and often outshining their college counterparts Melinda Gates and delegations from as far away as Washington, D.C.; Singapore; and South Africa.

In her role as a principal who cares for staff as much as students, she has provided ongoing support and guidance to make the faculty exemplars of innovation and professional growth. An earlier embracer of the MCNC Peer Review process: CLASS, has fostered a supervisory model that is designed to provide peer support through reflection and evaluation. HTPA was the first school on the West Coast to implement this model with great success. Her staff has shared their protocols and experiences at national conferences, demonstrating how leadership can be a shared experience.

Ms. Adams has been a star on the MCNC stage for many years. She has mentored new schools, like the highly successful Academy of Health Sciences in Prince George County, MD and served on the Executive Board of the Consortium and is a founding member and leader of the California Coalition of Early and Middle Colleges. She lives by the principle that through faith, all things are possible, and her achievements attest to that belief.

Mike Sinclair Wins the Oscar of Education: The Milken Award, $25,000

MCNC proudly celebrates the recognition of principal, Mike Sinclair of Brashier Middle College Charter High School as a 2013 Milken Educator.  No one in our organization was surprised when the announcement came over the wires, but Mike, who thought his Friday afternoon was to be spent escorting the Superintendent and SC educators around his campus was caught completely off guard.  He did not have an inkling. He was told the state Supt was looking to showcase SC Schools. “We are involved with some important state programs so I thought it  made sense. I made sure local officials would be there with all the students. I spent weeks frantically preparing for the visit.
This was the first year that the school was in the TAPP system so I thought we were getting an award for the school. When Gary said, ‘A person….’ I started to get anxious.”

In making the announcement before SC educators, the faculty and student body of Brashier, Dr. Mick Zais, Superintendent of Education of South Carolina said:
“Teaching is a calling not a job. . .Coming from a family of educators, I know that these types of recognitions do not come often enough. . . Teachers can have the single most important impact on a child.  Kristi Grooms [Dutch Fork, SC honoree] and Mike Sinclair represent all that great teachers can be and the heights they can achieve. They have shown real leadership in their schools and fully deserve this prestigious award.”

After the Superintendent and Dr. Gregory Stark, National Institute For Excellence in Teaching President and CEO made their remarks, Sinclair stated, “My philosophy of education is that students all have tremendous potential and they develop at different times or in different ways, so as an educational system we need to be flexible and focus on meeting the needs of our students rather than meeting the needs of a system. Students just have tremendous potential that unfortunately can go untapped if someone doesn’t take time to look at it.”
Sinclair graduated from the University of SC and received a Masters Degree in Administration from Furman University. After teaching at J.L. Mann Academy of Math, Science and Technology and Beck Academy of International Studies he served as AP at the latter. A 4year tenure as principal at Berea Middle School in Greenville, SC led to the offer to open Brashier Charter MCHS, the second early college charter high school affiliated with Greenville Technical Community College. In looking back on the past decade, Sinclair remembers his early days as a principal. “I started the principalship at thirty years old, fresh out of graduate school. I went to school with veteran staff. I was told they needed time to adjust. I was so young, my suit was even too big for me.” Today, Mike serves on a variety of statewide committees and associations including  the SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) Review Team for the state of South Carolina.
Sinclair was instrumental in the planning and building of Brashier Middle College, a charter school that opened with 100 students in 2006 and has grown to 420 in 2013. Brashier proudly boasts a graduation rate of 98.3 percent and enrolled 77.7 percent of its upperclassmen in college classes in 2012. These students accumulated nearly 2,000 college credit hours along with completion of high school requirements. 2012 graduates received a total of $2.2 million in college scholarships.

Over the last eight years at Brashier, Sinclair’s leadership  has been guided by and stayed true to his vision. A believer in life long learning and the importance of all members of the learning community to experience growth, he is proud that teachers at Brashier receive ongoing professional development and are expected to stay abreast of successful research based instructional practices.  Always an educational driver and not a follower, he has worked with MCNC to spearhead school wide literacy before the Common Core, on line communities of practice before MOOCs, Peer Support and Review before Danielson’s Framework, and Dave Conley’s EPIC assessment for college readiness in high school. He implemented TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, where master and mentor teachers model research-based instructional practices
All students at the school are encouraged to take, and supported in, college classes, and struggling students are identified early and enrolled in a Freshman Academy that helps them upgrade their skills and prevents dropping out, which can be endemic in the 9th grade. Combining high school and college skills and social emotional maturity is a complex task. Sinclair and his staff address these complexities with attempts to strengthen students’ communication and leadership skills, by creating portfolios and requiring student presentations to adults as early as freshman year. He has also tried to build strong connections with community partners in order “to try to connect our students to a world that’s bigger than just Simpsonville, South Carolina,” he said.

Colleagues describe Sinclair as an encyclopedia of best practices who stays abreast of legislation, literature and statistics, using data to formulate results-oriented strategies.
He guided creation of a charter school bill that brought a funding increase. He is also credited for improving relationships between public and charter schools.
Mike is a fixture and welcome presenter at MCNC Conferences. Often he shuns the personal praise and recognition for his school’s accomplishments, placing his faculty in the forefront for the hard work and dedication they have demonstrated. Each initiative resulted in growth for the faculty and, even more, success for his students as the data shows.

The education award comes with a $25,000 prize that Sinclair may use however he wishes. He is the second MCNC educator to receive this award. In 2007, Sakhalin Finnie, chemistry teacher at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy was surprised by the honor.  Selection of Milken recipients alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators. Educators are recommended for the honor by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by state education departments and based on exceptional educational talent as shown by effective instructional practices and student learning results, exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom and contributions to education that are largely unheralded but worthy of the spotlight. Winners are in their early- to mid-career with long-range potential for professional and policy leadership.
Recipients join the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of top educators who have access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.

Mike spoke of the impact the award has and may engender in his future. “Everyone I run into who is a Milken, I have such respect for. These are the educators who do it to serve students. It’s great to be a part of something connected to a national community. . .I feel I have work [ahead of me]. I can influence people in the educational community from my office. I believe there will be a lot more opportunities over the next 24 months. I believe I’m called to do something.”

Mike Sinclair is often heard saying, “I accept this honor with pride, but I accept it because of what my students and teachers do.” And that’s another reason why this award is so fitting and justified.

And if all that isn’t enough, Mike says, disbelievingly, “My father tweeted about me.”


Lassiter Makes Enduring Legacy to El Centro ECHS

This article was prepared by Eric Markinson, Principal at Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Early College HS. Interviews conducted by Kevin Ramos, class 2014.

Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Enjoying the proceedings

Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Enjoying the proceedings

This November, Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Jr. retired from his post as Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District.  One of his lasting legacies is his instrumental role in founding Middle College High School at El Centro College in 1988.  The story goes that someone—Dr. Lassiter, or a counterpart from Dallas Independent School District, depending on who recounts the tale—read a blurb in a higher-ed journal regarding LaGuardia Community College’s successful partnership with MCHS, then already a decade old, and International High School.  MCHS Dallas was one of MCNC’s early offspring —a testimony to the power of trumpeting the unique work that the Consortium accomplishes.  Having transformed itself from re-connection program to magnet school to its current incarnation as an early college, the school now serves a diverse group of students who are attracted to its alternative-school beginnings.  Students arrive embracing the school’s vision of every student receiving an associate’s degree, every student having the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree.  85% of the school’s students would be the first in their families to complete college.

Because that opportunity was so dear to Dr. Lassiter’s vision, the school community petitioned to name itself after its most ardent supporter.  Last November 15, the MCHS Dallas community celebrated re-naming the school Dr. Wright L Lassiter Jr Early College High School at El Centro College.  In preparation for the event, students interviewed Dr. Lassiter’s associates and some of the long-term allies of the program—Executive Dean Howard Finney, Dean of Students Felicitas Alfaro—and researched Dr. Lassiter’s writings.  Students then interviewed Dr. Lassiter about his experience of the school and what moved him to support the Middle College ideal of college for all.

Dr. Lassiter speaks to students and faculty and renaming of school ceremony

Dr. Lassiter speaks to students and faculty and renaming of school ceremony

Kevin Ramos, Class of 2014:         My first question is, Could you recall for us how the school was established?

Dr. Lassiter: It was early 1988 when the Dallas [Independent School District] Superintendent and the Dallas [County Community College] District Chancellor and other interested individuals were concerned that there was a group of students who were high-achieving, but had some challenges and were dropping out of high school.  So a delegation of us went to New York, to tour the Middle College and LaGuardia Community College.  We were impressed: It was a high-achieving institution; students were highly motivated.  And, when we came back it was the general conclusion that we should start such an activity here in Dallas.  Because I was the President of El Centro, and because many of the students at LaGuardia were African American and Hispanic, inner-city students, we thought this was the best place for the students.  It was a little difficult for the students the first 2 or 3 years; then we began to show the faculty, Oh, what good work the students were doing.KR:    And why did you believe, personally, that it was important to build a Middle College High School at El Centro?

Dr Lassiter:   Well, I grew up in Mississippi, during the era of segregation; and I saw the challenges that persons of color—really, at that time, African Americans—faced.  And I became convinced that wherever there was an occasion to provide an opportunity for students, that opportunity should be addressed.  And so, I felt that this was something that I should do.  As Paul Harvey used to say, “And you know the rest of the story.”  It turned out to be a very good venture: Look at all of you [students].

Miguel Najera, Class of 2014:       Dr. Lassiter, in one of your books you wrote, “Make an impact, not an impression.”  As a major community service contributor, to United Way and the Urban League, what do you think has been your most significant contribution to the community?

Dr. Lassiter:   Let me start by telling you how my service orientation came about.  When I was a teenager, my father shared a thought with me.  He said to me, “Junior, Service is the rent you pay for the space you occupy here on earth.”  That became one of my fundamental values.  I wanted to be of service.  So, when I came to Dallas, there were a number of opportunities for service—United Way was one of them, Salvation Army, the African American Museum—all of those where you could contribute to the betterment of the larger society.  That has just been the way I have conducted my life.

MN:   What is a motto you try to live by?

Dr. Lassiter:   “The largest room in any house is the room for improvement.”  That is the message I convey to people like you, students—saying to you all that there are no boundaries to what you can achieve; there are no boundaries to that which you should acquire, to help you as you go along in life….So, that is what I would say to all of you as you go through life, as you get your high school diploma and associate’s degree: Don’t stop; keep going.  didn’t.  I’m still in school, by the way.  I recently…I decided that, although I have all these degrees, I wanted to get some deeper grounding in the spiritual area…. So, I am completing another doctoral degree…because the largest room in any house is the room for improvement.

KR:    Do you have any advice for high school students who are uncertain about their future?

Faculty and students from El Centro Community College and Dr. Wright L. Lassiter ECHS pose with the honoree

Faculty and students from El Centro Community College and Dr. Wright L. Lassiter ECHS pose with the honoree

Dr. Lassiter:   Someone asked me, “What have been your personal success factors,” and I wrote this: Hard work; determination; preparation; drive for success; and risk-taking.  Let me tell you what happened to me when I finished college: I was the first person in my family to finish college.  After I had walked across the stage of the chapel at Alcorn College, my family and I were smiling and getting ready to leave Alcorn and go back home to Vicksburg, when the head of the business department came to me and asked if I had a job for the summer.  My father was a contractor, so I always had a job for the summer…  “We would like for you to stay here and join the faculty.”  Not two hours earlier, I had graduated with a baccalaureate degree.  My response was, “If you have enough confidence in me to offer me the job, then I am enough of a risk-taker to say yes.”

US Congressional Representative Donna Edwards Keynote Speaker at Student Leadership Conference

Rep. Donna EdwardsMCNC is proud to announce that the keynote welcoming address at the 2014 Student Leadership Initiative Conference in Prince George County, MD will be delivered by distinguished US Congressional Representative, Donna Edwards. Opening ceremonies will take place at Prince George County Community College on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Ms Edwards, a Democrat, has served in Congress since 2008. She was the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in the US Congress. A graduate of Wake Forest University, she received her J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire.
Ms. Edwards is a long time supporter of Social Justice issues, having served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, an advocacy and legal support group for battered women. She worked to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. On the global stage she has been an advocate and staunch supporter to end the genocide in Darfur, which resulted in an arrest outside the Sudan embassy in 2009. Currently, she is actively at work on issues such as the repeal of Citizens United, the increase of the minimum wage for all workers in Maryland, and the expansion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for high school students.
Donna Edwards is committed to promoting opportunities for higher education for all youth. She is currently sponsoring a statewide competition of STEM projects among high school students in the 4th Congressional District, involving schools, workplace, and research institutions.
Middle College National Consortium and all our students eagerly await this special event.

Consortium Matters

MCNC STEMs Ahead. . . thoughts from Dr. Cecilia Cunningham, Executive Director    cece1

MCNC is proud to share with you that we have been awarded a prestigious i3 grant in partnership with NCREST, Teachers College and Jobs for the Future..Our i3 grant, STEM Early College Expansion Partnership, or SECEP is based on the expansion of Early Colleges with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  The future workplace will require greater facility with STEM concentrations, but despite the economic demand, student interest and achievement in STEM disciplines have remained stagnant. Only about 14% of undergraduates are enrolled in STEM studies, and STEM postsecondary students are more likely than non-STEM students to be foreign, young, and from families with income in the top 25% or with parents who had some college education in STEM (IES, 2009). There are few proven models that have demonstrated success in increasing student achievement in STEM fields, particularly among low income students and students of color. Early College is a proven model for increasing student access to and achievement in college, especially for students who are underrepresented in college.The matching funds for a significant portion of this work come from the Mott Foundation, a long time supporter of Mott Middle College in Michigan and the expansion of the Middle College in that state.  MCNC will be coordinating activities for SECEP in Michigan and Jobs for the Future will coordinate the activities in Bridgeport.  We will cooperatively share and develop new resources to ensure that this project is successfulDr. Chery Wagonlander will provide local expertise for the sites in Michigan.The goals for this 5year project will be:

  • Improve STEM instruction by scaling STEM ECHS designs to increase the opportunities for students’ access to STEM postsecondary studies and careers.
  • Expand STEM ECHS high quality professional development in STEM subjects to increase teachers STEM content and pedagogical content knowledge.
  • Build key partnerships with districts and postsecondary institutions to position STEM ECHS designs for sustainability

At the end of five years we will evaluate the effects on the college going rates at the partner sites especially in STEM.

You will be hearing a lot more about SECEP in the coming months as we prepare for the summer conference, where we will roll out specific resources, strategies and supports.

Early College High School Initiative Impact Study: A Social and Academic Success Story

“I felt that being able to start taking college courses at (Early College) while still in high school made it much easier to adapt from high school to full- time college student after graduation.”

Early College Alum

 The most recent long-term study released in June 2013 finds that Early College High Schools have had a sustained positive impact on traditionally underserved students nationwide. Reports published by AIR(American Institute for Research) and SRI International point to the unequivocal success of Early College High Schools. The study conducted by Andrea Berger (Project Director), Lori Turk-Bicakci (Deputy Project Director), Michael Garet (Principal Investigator), Mengli Song, Joal Knudson, Clarisse Haxton, Kristina Zeiser, Gur Hoshen, Jennifer Ford, Jennifer Stephan and Kaeli Keating and Lauren Cassidy of SRI, found strong evidence to answer the study’s two questions:

1. Do Early College students have better outcomes than they would have had at other high schools?

2. Does the impact of Early Colleges vary by student background characteristics (e.g., gender and family income)?

The study compared outcomes for students from 10 ECHS (Early College High School) where admission was conducted by lottery with similar schools in the districts where students did not have access to structured, tuition free college courses and academic support. Students in non-ECHS institutions had participated in the lotteries, but had not been accepted into the ECHS programs. The study included 2,458 students in five states. It assessed both quantitative data (2004-2012) and qualitative data, obtained from student and grantee interviews. The latter included only 1,294 Early College students. Subjects were approximately ½ female, ½ low-income, ½ minority and 1/3 first generation college attendees.

Early College High Schools were initiated by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2002, for development of Early Colleges to give students traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education the opportunity to enroll in college courses and receive credit while pursuing a high school diploma.

“My time at (the Early College) has prepared me for schoolwork at a higher level because I was basically performing the same level of work throughout high school. The environment pushed me to take every opportunity offered to me…I am a better student for having attended (EC).”
-Early College Alum


Early Colleges are structured around core principles which have demonstrated success in challenging assumptions about age and academic experience necessary for high quality performance. These are:

• A commitment to serving students underrepresented in higher education

• Created and sustained by a local education agency, a higher education institution and the community, all of whom are jointly accountable for student success.

• Schools and their higher education partners and community jointly develop an integrated academic program so that all students earn one to two years of transferable college credit leading to college completion.

• EC schools engage all students in a comprehensive support system that develops academic and social skills as well as the behaviors and conditions necessary for college completion.

• EC schools and their higher education and community partners work with intermediaries to create conditions and advocate for supportive policies that advance the early college partners.

“[The Early College] allowed me to receive my associate’s degree nearly for free. Without [the Early College] I would not have my competitive edge that I have now at [college]; and I wouldn’t have the same confidence, college smarts, or goals.”

-Early College Alum


The 10 year AIR/SRI Study confirmed the success of these programs. The study found that EC students were more likely to graduate from high school than comparison students. 86% of incoming cohort from EC schools graduated on time, vs 81% from the comparison schools. In addition EC students had higher English language arts assessment scores than the comparison group.

EC students were more likely (63%) to enroll in college during their high school career than comparison students (23%). One year after graduation the majority of both groups 77% (EC) vs 67% (Comp) were enrolled in college. EC Students and graduates were more likely to enroll in both two and four year colleges than their comparison peers (59% vs 38% in 2 year colleges and 54% vs 47% in four year colleges).

Finally EC students were more likely to earn a college degree than comparison students. By the end of high school, the study found 20% of EC students had earned an A.A. degree as opposed to 1% of the comparison group. At the end of the first year after high school 21% of EC students had earned a degree, while comparison students earning a degree remained 1%.

The study found that EC impacts on high school graduation and college enrollment were similar regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, family income, achievement before high school and whether they were first generation in family to attend college. Surveys and interviews demonstrated higher ratings among EC students than comparison groups regarding:

• Academic rigor

• College-going culture

• Level of instructor support

• Quality of support completing college and financial aid applications.

This summary was adapted from the complete 2013 report, Early College, Early Success: Early College High School Initiative Impact Study, available at http://www.air.org/earlycollegeimpact. Inquiries about the evaluation may be sent to Andrea Berger at aberger (at) air.org

For more information about the Early College High School Initiative, visit








Student Leadership 2014: Prince George County, MD-Washington, DC

Student Leadership Middle College National Consortium style is bearing down towards DC. An army of youth-warriors are set to tackle issues of Social Justice across the nation and they are aiming to be heard. After last year’s breakthrough conference in Columbus, Ohio where our students asked the question, “What makes a healthy community?” they wanted to address some of the ills they had uncovered with well designed plans and clear action. Social Justice was the theme they selected; political action to assess, inform and increase college access for all high school students is their mission.

Currently 20 youngsters-sophomores and juniors from the Academy of Health Sciences in Prince George County, MD are working with two history professors, Normand Lambert and Cornell Mickens, planning activities for the 200+ peers who will arrive in Maryland in the Spring. Students are focused on a variety of social justice issues which touch their lives and hearts: bullying, human trafficking, violence, poverty, gender equity and racial and religious discrimination. What these conversations lead them to understand is there is a common thread to most social injustice: lack of education by both victim and perpetrator. Students will examine how the Early/Middle College opportunity and experience: rigor and challenge with support and contact with a college environment changed their self efficacy and aspirations to complete their post secondary education and move onto fulfilling careers. Realizing that education opened doors to them and also made them more tolerant of one anothers’ beliefs, lifestyles and traditions will fuel their efforts to reach out to politicians in their local and national legislatures with the message that opportunity in this country must be open to all .

The Conference, taking place April 30-May 4 will include an Arts Exchange, trips to the Capitol, Monuments, Museums and Newseum. The highlight will be the opportunity for each student to take a photo with a member of their home district after delivering a short appeal to address more opportunities for college access in high school for all. Students from each of our Middle and Early Colleges will work with local representatives to understand current bills under consideration in their local and national legislatures that increase support for an early college/dual credit experience for all high school students. In the end, we all know that the solution that most critically impacts social justice is education and that access is determined, in most cases by location, fluency, education history, poverty, etc.

MCNC supports efforts to prepare students coming to the conference through it’s web based platform: MCNC Youth Voices2014@facebook.com. A closed group facilitated by Megan Lee, an MCNC graduate and Terry Born, the community hosts weekly forums, arts exchanges and oversees the completion of research, organization and communication tasks that are at the heart of the Leadership Initiative. This year, we will also build a Web-Exchange that will track and make available current Policy and Programs in each of our MCNC Communities so that students and Advisors can get the national perspective about EC Access for All.

For more information about the program, the conference and the on line communities: contact: tborn39396 (at) aol.com