ACPS Announces Formal Exploration of Partnership with NOVA to Launch Early College Program

On Thursday, ACPS announced formal plans to take steps to partner with Northern Virginia Community College on an Early College High School program for 400 students from T.C. Williams High School.

The Early College, which is intended to be part of the new Connected High School Network to be set up through The High School Project, will allow students the opportunity to graduate with an associate degree from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) at the same time as they graduate from T.C. Williams High School.

ACPS is exploring options as to whether the Tyler Building could be used to host the program, which will allow eleventh- and twelfth-grade students to study alongside NOVA college students.

Ninth- and tenth-grade students in the Early College program could be based at the Tyler Building on the NOVA campus, where they will experience their initial dual enrollment courses and complete their high school diploma-required courses under the supervision of ACPS teachers.

This is a truly innovative way to expand the opportunity for some of our students to graduate with two years of college under their belts and experience what it is like to study in a college environment. Early College offers high school students an innovative, challenging and meaningful learning experience on a college campus, strengthening their ability to succeed in college or the workplace,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

The ACPS Early College would be the first of its kind in Northern Virginia. It will offer students who may not be able to afford to go on to college the opportunity to take the first steps toward a college degree. Early College also provides increased access to higher education for minority, low-income and higher middle-achievement students with an aim toward helping more students get to and succeed in college.

Early College High School programs have been shown to increase high school graduation rates, the rate of enrollment in college within one year of high school graduation, and subsequent attainment of a college degree, according to “Early College, Early Success: Results from the Early College High School Initiative Impact Study.” Students will be able to transfer to a four-year higher education institution through current NOVA articulation agreements or directly enter the workforce.

Early College aims to offer a more personalized learning experience in a rigorous collegiate environment with access to experiential learning, internships and community partnerships. Students will have the opportunity to gain an associate degree in social science or information technology, in addition to possible certifications in other areas.

A team of deans, administrators, teachers, college staff and coaches will engage in close collaboration and work to ensure a seamless experience for students with agreements to address space, dual-enrollment, grades, student platforms, technical support and more. The program will also include opportunities to develop after school Early College extra-curricular clubs, service projects and/or access NOVA and T.C. Williams after school programs.

Academic and facilities planning for the Early College program will continue through Fall 2019.

View the presentation (PDF) to and discussion with the School Board.

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