The Harlandale ISD Board of Trustees took its first step toward making the dream of an Early College High School (ECHS) become a reality. In a 7-0 vote, board members approved hiring a Principal and some support staff this year so that they may begin planning for the grand opening in 2014-2015.
“This is life changing. Our early college high school will have a huge impact on our kids and their families. Not only will it get students college ready but it will help them achieve in college too,” exclaimed Superintendent Rey Madrigal.
The main goal of HISD’s ECHS will be to provide an instructional atmosphere that promotes college readiness and success through an academic design that articulates clear college degree plans. These degree plans will include the 42 credit hour academic core curriculum plus 18 credit hours in specific fields of study with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), including health careers, information technology and petroleum & gas. Opportunities will also include Pre-AP Math, Science, Social Studies, English and Spanish curriculum. Fine Arts and Business Computer Information Systems will be available as elective classes.
All college coursework will be completed through partnerships with nearby Palo Alto College and Texas A&M-San Antonio, making HISD one of the first districts to link its ECHS to a four-year university. The connection is obvious as all three schools will be located within a couple of miles of each other. Preliminary plans are to establish Harlandale’s ECHS along Loop 410, west of Roosevelt Avenue.
Students will graduate under the Distinguished Achievement Program within four-years and, by then, will have acquired an Associate Degree or college credit; thus, instilling the immediate desire for further post-secondary education
Reaction from School Board Members:
Jesse “Jay” Alaniz, President, SMD 7 – “Harlandale ISD’S Early College High School will change the lives of many students who strive for success in college. We are so proud to fully support this program.”
Juan Mancha, Vice President, SMD 1 – “Wow! It’s amazing. It is about time our kids get to advance and get so much college credit without have to pay tuition. We are going to offer it to them.”
Erma Casarez, Secretary, SMD 3 – “It is absolutely wonderful that we are doing something like this in our district. I think it is going to benefit all our students. I can’t wait for it to come to fruition and for students to start utilizing all it will have to offer.”
Christine Carrillo, SMD 2 - “As a new board member, I am just thrilled that my children and other generations of children can benefit from this.”
David Abundis, SMD 4 – “Moving forward with the Early College High School initiative was made possible because of the great collaboration between School Board members and district staff. It proves that the entire Harlandale district is focused on student enhancement.”
Velma Ybarra, SMD 5 - “A most notable feature of our Early College High School program will be the open accessibility to college for more of our students. This is huge for Harlandale. We applaud the partnership between our Superintendent Madrigal and our friends at the Alamo College District and Texas A&M. Early College will bust the doors open for our students by focusing on emerging STEM careers, including gas and petroleum engineering. As a former career and technology coordinator, this has been a dream and vision for our students,”
Anthony Alcoser, SMD 6 - “In my six years on the board, never has there been an item that affected education and college entrance more than this initiative. It is not every day you get a chance to change the lives and the future for students and our community in such a profound way. It truly is an honor and a blessing to be part of this.”