QCC: Unique Aspects of the Model
Unlike some traditional schools where only high achieving students are selected for accelerated programs or honors courses, ECI students will have the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school. This expectation creates a culture that supports and encourages students who might struggle in other environments. Instead of abruptly moving from a high school environment to a college campus, ECI students begin with one college course—often in the tenth grade—and gradually increase the number of college courses over time.
In the new 9 through 14 College and Career Preparatory schools, “blue chip” employer partners identify the appropriate entry-level positions that students may qualify for upon graduation; employers then work with secondary and post-secondary partners to map the key skills needed to succeed in those positions. Employer partners will also ensure students receive mentoring from industry professionals to help provide opportunities for workplace experiences aligned with the curriculum.
History of the Early College Initiative program at The City University of New York (CUNY)
In partnership with the NYC DOE, CUNY has developed 14 Early College Initiatives, the goal of enabling a broad range of students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree (or up to two years of college credit)—at no cost to themselves or their families. In the last three years, several new ECI’s have joined with industry partners to form to accomplish the above with the added value of internships, mentoring and opportunities for employment with the industry partners or those similar to them.
As stated by CUNY, the proposed objectives for these latter Early College Initiative are to:
- Blend a rigorous college-prep high school curriculum with the college level coursework required to earn an associate degree in a technology/business discipline and a carefully sequenced set of workplace experiences that prepare students to move seamlessly into high potential jobs.
- Offer a path to a college education and a professional career that includes substantive guidance and coaching from adults through the first two critical years of college and a series of increasingly demanding workplace experiences.
- Remove financial and other barriers to higher education thus allowing significant college-level work to be part of every student’s experience.
- Enroll students of all abilities, levels, and backgrounds to ensure that a wide range of students have access to a high quality high school and college education.
- Serve low income young people, first-generation college students, English language learners and students of color –all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education
- Provide small, personalized learning environments with 80 to 100 students per grade and no more than 600 students per school.