COLUMBUS, OH, March 25, 2013 – The Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) are joining other education agencies across the country to celebrate Early College High School Week March 25-30.
The week is dedicated to more than 240 schools nationwide, including 10 in Ohio, created in an effort to increase high school graduation rates and college readiness among students – often low-income, minority and/or first-generation college students – through academic rigor and college-level courses, rather than remediation.
“Ohio is committed to the college- and career-readiness of all of our young people,” said Dr. Stephanie Davidson, Interim Chancellor of OBR. “These schools exemplify innovation and successful education reform by helping students who might otherwise miss out on going to college get through college and on to successful careers.”
“It is imperative that we prepare the boys and girls of this state for college and careers,” said Dr. Richard Ross, State Superintendent of Public Instruction at ODE. “We must connect kids with career opportunities to keep them interested and engaged in learning. We must do a better job of pointing Ohio kids to the jobs of the future. Preparing students for jobs of the future means we rethink what we teach and how we test. Early College High School can have a huge impact on individual students and on the future of our state.”
Nationally, early college high schools were launched in 2003 after an initial investment of $18 million in seed funding to nine schools by KnowledgeWorks and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Ohio has invested more than $20 million in early college high schools since 2006.
Currently, Ohio has 10 “founding” early college high schools that have had at least one graduating class – Akron Early College, Canton Early College High School, Charles School at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Columbus Africentric Early College, Dayton Early College Academy, Design Lab Early College High School in Cleveland, Lorain County Early College High School, Metro Early College High School in Columbus, Toledo Early College High School, and Youngstown Early College High School. In addition, Ohio has six “emerging” early college high schools – those still too young to have a graduating class – that have been funded largely by Race to the Top funding.
Among the emerging schools is the BELL Early College Academy at Reynoldsburg High School. The high school was the site of the swearing-in ceremony for Dr. Ross on Monday morning. Students at the BELL Academy can earn an associate degree from Columbus State Community College, which has a branch campus at BELL.
Statistics have shown Ohio’s early college high schools to be successful. Of the students at the original 10 early college high schools, 77 percent of their graduates enroll in college, as compared to 50 percent for low-income students nationwide and 68 percent for all students nationwide; 85 percent enroll in a public four-year institution; and 80 percent of graduates who start college return for their second year, besting the national average by 11 percentage points.
Ohio’s early college high school students have also, on average, earned 44 college credits by the time they graduate. Many Ohio students earn enough college credit at an early college high school to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.