Paoli Jr. Sr. High School is proud to launch a new initiative known as an Early College program. Better known as simply Early College or “EC”, this program provides several opportunities to our students. While there are many different Early Colleges across the nation, the Early College Program at PHS will allow students to maintain progress towards a high school diploma while earning dual college credits and/or technical certifications through several Academic and Technical Pathways. The culmination of credits and credentials earned can result in either an Indiana Transfer General Education Core 30 Certificate or an Associate’s Degree in General Studies, both awarded through Ivy Tech Southern Indiana (Sellersburg). The expectation is that all Early College students qualify* for and complete* the necessary coursework through Ivy Tech to transition into a higher education setting with much of their general education requirements completed, or into a skilled trade that utilizes already earned college credits and technical certifications.
*To qualify, students must meet minimum college readiness requirements set by Ivy Tech Community College including, but not limited to; PSAT, SAT, ACT, COMPASS, and/or ACCUPLACER test scores, successful completion of pre-requisite coursework, and/or minimum GPA.
*Successful completion of a dual credit course means earning a minimum grade of a C, either as a semester or year based course.
The opportunities Early College should in-of-itself motivate students to do well. Since our Early College students may have difficulty in other areas, the program is designed to help students overcome many challenges they may have (or have had) to achieve a higher level of education. These supports include:
- Prioritized scheduling allowing Early College students to schedule pathway classes early
- Increased progress monitoring by teachers and support staff
- Programming and Presentations designed to support students and parents
- Increased opportunities to earn technical certificates and college credits
The commitment required to enter and complete the Early College program should not be taken lightly. All interested in applying for and completing and Early College program should consider that this program is designed for students who have shown academic potential, and are motivated individuals who will give full attention to their academic interests while in Early College. Responsibilities include:
- Completion of all academic coursework with full engagement and effort
- Consistent and appropriate behavior in all activities both in and outside of the school setting
- Modeling a positive and motivated attitude for both students attending PHS Early College and all students attending elsewhere
Essentially, as our first cohort, students will become ambassadors for Early College and their performance reflects on the quality of the program. Therefore, if PHS feels that a student does not display those qualities outlined above, at any time, they have full discretion to remove a student from the Early College program.
As our first year, note that not all students who apply will be admitted to Early College. The selection process will involve a written application, interview, assessments, and full review by a panel of teachers and administrators before our cohort is created. Currently, students must meet the criteria as follows:
- Must apply by the end of their 9th grade year
- Have and maintain a Minimum 2.3 cumulative GPA
- Earn no lower than a C in any class
- Have a minimum 95% attendance rate including all absences excused, unexcused, waived, and Doctor’s excused.
- Have outstanding discipline (students receiving lunch detentions, after school detentions, Friday School detentions, are suspended or expelled before being admitted or while in an Early College program may be removed from their Early College cohort)
- Complete the necessary coursework to stay on track to complete either a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway or higher
Preference in the Early College application process will be given to the students who meet the following criteria:
- Students with financial need (including but not limited to: 21st Century Scholars and students eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch)
- First Generation College Students (Neither custodial parent/guardian entered a college program)
However, expectations of an Early College extend beyond just the students. Responsibilities extend to parents as well. Since an Early College student will have higher expectations than their non-Early College peers, parents/guardians are expected to be fully engaged in the academic demands associated with Early College. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting the student throughout the application process
- Attending all Early College meetings
- Staying current with student progress and addressing concerns promptly as they arise
- Agreeing to meet annually to evaluate each student’s progress towards academic and career goals
- Keeping lines of communication open between the student, teachers, staff, and parents to ensure supports are in place