purpose of this letter is to inform school districts and open-enrollment
charter schools of an upcoming opportunity related to Early College High School
designation. Information and timelines are provided below.
College High Schools (ECHS) are innovative high schools that allow students
least likely to attend college an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and
up to 60 college credit hours. Under the authority of Texas Education Code
(TEC) §29.908(b) and Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §102.1091, the TEA has
developed a designation process for Early College High Schools. The designation
process ensures that districts and colleges operating ECHS campuses maintain
the integrity of the model, which was researched and designed to target and
serve students who would not otherwise consider attending college.
accordance with TAC §102.1093, the ECHS designation
process is required for all existing and proposed ECHS campuses. Schools that
receive the ECHS designation will receive a number of benefits, including:
1) Recognition as an Approved ECHS campus
Schools designated by TEA as state-approved ECHS campuses
will receive various forms of media recognition including, but not limited to,
identification on TEA’s website as a state-approved ECHS campus and recognition
in press releases.
2) Eligibility for Exemption from Dual Credit
The program design of an ECHS focuses on allowing students, based
on their performance, to begin college courses as soon as they are able, possibly
as early as the 9th grade. However, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
(THECB) dual credit rules state that
student is eligible to enroll in dual credit courses in the eleventh and/or
twelfth grade if the student meets certain eligibility requirements, and
school students shall not be enrolled in more than two dual credit courses per
In order to fulfill the program design, a designated ECHS
must receive an exemption through the THECB from dual credit restrictions. In
order to receive this exemption, an ECHS must first receive approval from TEA
in accordance with TAC §4.161.
3) Eligibility for State Programs
Designated ECHS campuses may take advantage of activities
and programs designed by the Texas Legislature, the TEA, and the THECB that
target Early College High Schools. Examples include, but are not limited to:
a) Optional Flexible School Day: a program created by
the Texas Legislature to provide ECHS campuses (and other specified schools)
with a flexible method of attendance accounting. This program is designed to
enable school districts or charters to receive funding for serving students
outside of the regular school day.
b) ECHS Convenings: Special events hosted
by the TEA and the THECB for ECHS administrators and principals to provide
input on policies and procedures that impact ECHS.
4) Membership in the ECHS Network:
The TEA periodically provides opportunities for principals,
teachers, and students at designated ECHS campuses through the ECHS network to
share best practices through conferences and technical assistance sessions.
5) Access to Professional Development and
Designated ECHS campuses will have access to high-quality
professional development and technical assistance.
6) Recognition for Fidelity to the ECHS Model:
Through the designation process, the TEA and the THECB
formally approve and recognize those ECHS campuses that are designed and
operated according to the ECHS Blueprint.
To Apply for ECHS Designation
are available online at http://thetrc.org/ECHS.
interested in applying for designation on behalf of a new campus are
encouraged to submit a notice of intent to apply. The Notice of Intent to
Apply for ECHS Designation is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XQB9QQB.
- Applications must be submitted to the
TEA through the online application interface on or before December 19,
2014 in order to serve as a designated ECHS campus during the
2015-2016 school year. The TEA will notify each applicant of its approval
status to operate a designated ECHS campus in Spring 2015.
must complete this application each year in order to renew ECHS
Designation. Certain currently designated ECHS campuses will only need to
submit an abbreviated application.
ECHS designation application for 2015-2016 is an online, web-based application.
It is the same application used in the 2014-2015 application process.
technical assistance webinar is not required, however attendance is strongly
encouraged for new applicants, or for administrators who are new to the ECHS
application process. The webinar will provide potential applicants the ability
to learn how to access and navigate the online, web-based application system.
questions regarding the completion of the designation application should be
submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answers will be provided during the webinar (which will be recorded) and in an
ECHS Technical Assistance webinar will be held Tuesday, November 18, 2014, at
2:00 p.m. Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/377741802.
ECHS DESIGNATION TIMELINE
November 3, 2014
Designation Application available
November 18, 2014
November 21, 2014
of Intent to Apply Due
that plan to apply for designation of a new ECHS are encouraged to submit a
Notice of Intent to Apply.
December 19, 2014
to serve as a designated Early College High School during the 2015-2016
school year must be received by TEA no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 19,
or charters submitting applications for ECHS designation will be notified of
either selection or non-selection as a designated ECHS.