Northwest ISD announced this week that James M. Steele Accelerated High School in Roanoke has officially been designated as a Texas Education Association Early College High School.
Starting this fall, students attending Steele in ninth grade — and those in 10th and 11th grade who are enrolled in the school’s Collegiate Academy —will receive free college courses and textbooks, according to a district news release.
“We are so excited to be able to provide this opportunity to our students,” said Ryder Warren, NISD superintendent of schools. “We’ve been discussing this possibility for years, and our board and district leadership have been able to take this step to expand our students’ educational options.”
Through a partnership with Tarrant County College, students enrolled in the Early College High School will now have the chance to pursue — at no cost to the student — both a high school diploma and an associate degree or two years of college credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
“In Northwest ISD, our mission is to prepare all students to confidently navigate their future, and we intentionally emphasize ‘all’ students,” Warren said. “Affordable, attainable access to higher education is an opportunity that can change a life, and we are grateful that this partnership with Tarrant County College will provide our kids access to a degree when the roadblocks and financial challenges might otherwise be too much.”
The program is targeted toward traditionally underserved students, including those who are classified as “at-risk,” students who are economically marginalized and students who may be the first in their families to attend college, who are highly motivated, who may be English language learners, are likely to experience difficulty in transitioning to postsecondary education, and have limited financial resources, according to NISD.
During the transition to an ECHS, the district will continue to operate the Collegiate Academy in its current form to support students until graduation.
Steele Accelerated High School currently serves 232 students in small learning communities where students are focused on achieving an associate degree, completing their core 42 college credit hours, or participating in an individualized high school setting. The campus also houses the Collegiate Academy, Cosmetology Academy, Rise and Horizons programs and non-academy students. It is now one of 182 Early College High Schools in Texas.
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