PASADENA, Texas — By 2015, a group of high school students will graduate with both their diplomas and associate degrees as the first class from Pasadena Early College High School (PECHS) through San Jacinto College (SJC).
The school, recently approved by the Texas Education Agency, opens this Fall with approximately 60 incoming high school freshmen who will follow a four-year curriculum developed to provide a seamless transition from high school and elective dual credit classes to full integration into college-level courses. The students will graduate their senior year with a Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) high school diploma and an associate degree representing the completion of 60 credit hours at San Jacinto College.
"San Jacinto College is very pleased to partner with Pasadena Independent School District in the creation of the early college high school," said Jaynie Mitchell, director of dual credit and early admission at San Jacinto College Central. "SJC professors are credentialed professionals in their chosen fields and bring a high level of academic integrity and commitment to college-level instruction with them into the classroom. Students who bring their best academic attitude and work ethic to the classroom will excel in the Pasadena Early College High School environment."
The Pasadena ECHS will be housed in a stand-alone facility on the Pasadena High School campus. There, the students will follow a modified block with Friday flex days for college and career-focused activities, peer study groups, exam preparation, extra-curricular organizations, and more. Selection process into the early college high school requires specified student and parent guardian information, two essay questions, and two teacher references.
A large percentage of the Pasadena High School student population is set to become first generation college students, according to Sheri Dennis, PECHS coordinator. Through the introduction of an early college high school, the overall goal is to increase awareness and promote the attainability of higher education.
"Many of our students see post-secondary education as an unattainable dream due to a number of factors including family responsibilities, financial constraints, and limited 'college knowledge' for students and their parents," said Dennis. "We recognize that our students must be immersed in a college/career-focused culture from the first day they walk through our doors in order to be fully prepared for success at the post-secondary level."
Texas is home to more than 40 early college high school programs, including the Clear Horizons Early College High School on the SJC South campus. These schools are designed to provide students with a chance to earn a high school diploma, while completing two years of college at the same time. Early college students fare better than national averages in high school graduation rates, according to the Jobs for the Future organization; the four-year graduation rate for early college high schools was approximately 92 percent in 2008.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of more than 29,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career-track choices. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SanJacintoCollege.