12 high schools selected for innovative early college program


Twelve high schools statewide have been selected to participate in the Early College High School Program, a coordinated initiative designed to allow more high school students to earn six or more college credits before they graduate from high school.


Over the next three years, Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, with the support of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and GEAR UP Hawaii, will invest more than $1.2 million of resources to fund tuition and expenses and provide technical assistance to selected high schools working in partnership with University of Hawaii campuses, to provide high school-based early college courses.

The Early College High School Program is part of a cohesive effort to bring an early college high school model successful in other states, where students have the option of earning both an associate’s degree and a high school diploma by their high school graduation, to Hawaii. The purpose of these grants is to develop best practices for early college high schools such that more students graduate with college credits and better preparation for their future degree/career. The program could serve up to 3,200 students statewide.

"This partnership is more than just preparing students for higher education," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "This provides the extra push needed for students to reach their goals in life. The impact that this program can make is incredibly meaningful."

“Research shows participation in college-level coursework during high school can increase students’ exposure and aspirations for postsecondary success,” says Karen Lee, Executive Director of Hawaii P-20. “High school students who graduate with at least six college credits are more likely to enroll, persist and succeed in higher education, and as a result, move us closer to achieving our state’s goal of having 55% of working age adults with a two or four-year college degree by 2025.”

“Many high schools and community colleges in Hawaii are trying the early college approach. Helping bring these early efforts to scale will prepare many more high school students – especially those that are low income or first generation – to attend and succeed in college,” noted Alex Harris, Senior Program Officer for Education at the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “Exposing young people to a collegiate environment at an early age is a win for the student, the high school, and the college.”

The selected schools will provide early college courses over a three-year period with the goal of increasing the number of high school students taking early college courses and the number of college credits students receive by their high school graduation. Technical assistance will be provided through the Early College High School Program to assist grantees in understanding and best using their current resources, as well as offering guidance to grantees to reach their three-year goals for the program. In addition, a community of learners will be developed to allow grantees to share their best practices and identify barriers and solutions to common challenges.

The selected schools include:

  • Hawaii Island: Hilo High School, Kealakehe High School, Kohala High School, and Waiakea High School
  • Kauai: Kapaa High School and Kauai High School
  • Molokai: Molokai High School
  • Oahu: Farrington High School, Kailua High School, Kaimuki High School, Waianae High School, and Waipahu High School

Nine of the 10 University of Hawaii campuses are involved in supporting early college classes at the selected high schools, including: Hawaii Community College, Honolulu Community College, Kapiolani Community College, Kauai Community College, Leeward Community College, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the University of Hawaii Maui College, the University of Hawaii – West Oahu, and Windward Community College.

Schools will start offering early college courses for the program beginning in Spring 2015. Students who are interested in participating should contact their high school counselor.

Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education is a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the State Department of Education, and the University of Hawai‘i System. This partnership is working to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so that all students achieve career and college success. Hawaii P-20’s partners share a sense of urgency about the need to improve Hawai‘i’s educational outcomes in an increasingly global economy, and have established a goal of 55% of Hawai‘i’s working age adults to have a 2- or 4-year college degree and for 100% of working age adults to be prepared for careers and college by the year 2025. For more information, visit http://www.p20hawaii.org.

GEAR UP Hawaii, a program of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, aims to broaden college awareness, expand academic readiness and increase postsecondary success among Hawaii’s low-income public school students. GEAR UP Hawaii collaborates with the Hawaii State Department of Education and the University of Hawaii System as well as the government, nonprofit and private sectors to provide information, encouragement, support, resources and services and help eliminate achievement gaps among groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the largest private foundation headquartered in Hawaii, is committed to closing the achievement and preparation gaps in public education so that all Hawai‘i’s children have access to high-quality pre-K-12 education that prepares them for success in college, career and citizenship. Its grants also focus on restoring nearshore marine ecosystems and strengthening Windward Oahu communities. Visit http://castlefoundation.org.

Contact Information

Karen Lee, Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education

Phone: 808-956-5307

Email: karenlee@hawaii.edu


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