Texas Celebrates Early College High School Week with Educate Texas and Jobs for the Future

April 2014 | Houston, Texas
BY: Amy Williams

Early College High School Week (ECHSW), nationally coordinated by Jobs for the Future, headlined March 24 - 28, 2014 and celebrated the Early College High Schools (ECHS) around the nation.

The Early College Initiative began in 2002 and is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other foundations. With others, Educate Texas serves as a partner organization and is home to more than 60 early ECHS.

Alma Garcia, Program Officer for Educate Texas, leads the ECHS efforts in Texas. Garcia announced in the Early College Expansion and School Transformation Webinar, which kick-started ECHSW, that Texas will be opening 43 new ECHS this fall. This will bring the grand total to 108, a 36-percent increase over the last ten years.

In the webinar, Garcia also shared some exciting successes ECHS have had in Texas: 

  • 62% of ECHS students graduate college ready versus the 52% state average
  • 73% of ECHS students enroll in college versus Texas' college-going rate of 54%
  • ECHS students outperform their peers in traditional schools on standardized tests across all four content areas

ECHS dual credit
Presented during the webinar by Garcia

Ultimately, Garcia and her team strive to continually expand and reach more students in the future.

“We’re focusing on the entire K-16 pipeline," said Garcia. "We know that students should not be learning about going to college in high school — some school districts as early as the elementary years are really making a difference by working with the community and the parents to understand what it takes for their child to go to college."


Since it began, the Early College Initiative partner organizations have created 280 schools, serving 80,000 students in 32 different states.

The Early College High School Initiative aims to serve students who have been historically underserved, giving them the opportunities to not only be prepared for college, but also gain college credit while they are in high school.

Listen to the full webinar to learn more about ECHS and learn which schools in your region are already partners.