Early College High School begins this fall in Geneva, Waterloo

A new partnership between FLCC and two local school districts, Geneva and Waterloo, will give students the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time they finish high school.

The Early College High School is a five-year project that begins this fall. Ninth graders who have applied and been accepted to the program will be introduced to the educational pathways that lead to specific careers.

Over their four years of high school, they will take FLCC classes through the existing concurrent enrollment program, called Gemini, which allows students to complete high school and college requirements at the same time.

Starting in 11th grade, these students will be able to attend courses at the FLCC main campus or campus centers. The goal is for students to earn at least 24 credits and up to an associate degree, typically 60 credits.

“The goal is to introduce career exploration to students at a younger age and give more opportunities to motivated students,” said Laura Jamieson, FLCC assistant director of concurrent enrollment. “It is possible for students to earn an associate degree upon high school graduation and transfer directly to a bachelor’s degree program.”

A state Department of Education grant will cover costs for the program, including staff at FLCC and the districts to administer the program, college tuition and transportation. Geneva received a $1.18 million grant and Waterloo, $825,000, both to be spread over five years.

The grant will also cover professional development for faculty at the Geneva and Waterloo high schools and at FLCC to help them adapt more rigorous coursework to a younger population. The Early College High School program will also target underrepresented groups in higher education, including low-income, first-generation and minority students.

The Smart Scholars Early College High School Program began more than a decade ago in more urban areas of the state.

Early College High School is similar to the Pathways in Technology, or PTECH, in which students interested in technology careers take a mix of high school and college credits and transfer seamlessly to FLCC to complete their degree, often in less than two years.

FLCC’s Early College program in cooperation with Waterloo and Geneva will offer students a broader range of career pathways, including health care, computer science, education and humanities.

More information about this statewide initiative is available on the state Education Department website.

Author: Lenore Friend

Lenore Friend is the director of public relations and communications at FLCC and the college's liaison with Finger Lakes TV. Contact her at (585) 785-1623 or Lenore.Friend@flcc.edu.

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