|First Graduates from Early College: A Milestone for Canton
Many say the students' accomplishments represent a milestone that's bigger than their individual achievement. It's a milestone for not just the Canton City School District, but also the community. - The Repository, May 15, 2009
Sixty students will graduate from Canton's Early College High School (ECHS) this year. Thirty-two graduated from college last Sunday.
Early college high schools are designed to allow low income, underrepresented, or first generation college going students the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and up to two years of college or an associate degree. Canton's ECHS opened in 2005. Only 200 such schools exist across the nation with nine in Ohio.
How substantial are the achievements of Canton's first graduating class? A review of national and state figures tells the story.
Earning a semester or more of college credit is a critical benchmark for students who do not earn a full associate degree as it represents a "tipping-point" that substantially increases the odds of completing a degree. Canton ECHS graduates not completing an associate degree earned between 21 and 59 credit hours.
- Nationally, some 85% of early college graduates earn a semester or more of college credit when they graduate - in Ohio, the figure is over 80%; for Canton, 100%.*
- Across the nation, 10% of early college graduates earn a full two years of college or an associate degree - in Ohio, over 33% of graduates achieve this goal; in Canton, over 53%.**
All but two of the 32 ECHS students who graduated Sunday with an associate degree will also continue work on additional associate or four year degrees. The graduation of all 60 students, 0% of whom will require remedial coursework to pursue further college, represents a substantial shift in the college-going culture on the Timken Campus where ECHS is based. In 2002, only 31 students went on to college, 79% of whom had to take remedial courses.
Canton ECHS is a partnership between the Canton City Schools, Canton Professional Educators Association, Stark State College of Technology, Stark Education Partnership and KnowledgeWorks Foundation with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and state of Ohio.
* National data from: Jobs for the Future (2009) Early College High School Initiative: A Portrait in Numbers. Available at: http://www.earlycolleges.org/publications.html
** Duty, Lisa (2009). Ohio Early College High Schools prove successful in launching college careers:
One in three 2009 graduates leave high school with two years of college credit. Cincinnati: KnowledgeWorks Foundation Press Release, May 14th.