Ivy Tech Community College launches Early College Program with area high schools

SOUTHBEND – Ivy Tech Community College-North Central is excited to announce partnerships with nearly a dozen area high schools to launch the Early College initiative in the coming months. Some high schools have already identified students who will participate in the Early College program. The goal for many of the Early College High Schools is to provide vigorous support to a target group of students in grades 9-12. The support will give students the necessary tools to earn a Technical Certificate or an Associate degree by the time they graduate from high school.

Early College Partnerships include: Penn High School, South Bend Career Academy, Triton High School, Elkhart Central High School, Elkhart Memorial High School, Elkhart Area Career Center, Goshen High School, Concord High School, Northridge High School, Fairfield High School, and Jimtown High School.

Penn High School (St. Joseph County) has selected 120 incoming freshmen to take part in the first cohort this fall. Penn’s Early College student profile is not exclusive. However, it is targeted with specific groups in mind such as: first generation college students; minority students; students who are on or above a grade level in math and language arts; students who have maintained a 2.75-3.5 GPA; students who are on free/reduced lunch; students who passed ISTEP; and students and parents who want to take advantage of the Early College program.

Steve Hope, Principal at Penn High School, said, “We have recruited students and are meeting with students and their parents to let them know the benefits of an early college program. We have also secured staff for the program and they are very excited to be a part of this initiative.” Hope added that the partnership with Ivy Tech is a win-win for both parties. “More students will see the benefits of attending Ivy Tech. More students will graduate from Penn with a transition plan for successful college completion in place. Our success at Penn is not measured in our own graduation rate, but rather in the percentage of our students who successfully complete college.”

Elkhart Community Schools (Elkhart County) is launching a district-wide Early College initiative that will include pathways at Elkhart Central High School, Elkhart Memorial High School, and the Elkhart Area Career Center.

Elkhart Central High School and Elkhart Memorial High School are identifying around 50 students to participate in each cohort. They are targeting students who are first generation college students and who have the ability to go to college, but are not aware of all the options available to achieve their goals.

During the 2013-14 school year, Elkhart Central High School and Elkhart Memorial High School accepted students into their Early College program. They began working with these students to ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬-ensure they would be “college-ready” by implementing Accuplacer and MyFoundations Lab. In collaboration with Ivy Tech, the high schools have also developed a four-year plan that includes several dual credit courses that students will take throughout high school.

Frank Serge, Principal at Elkhart Central High School, said, “Our staff is excited about the possibilities that this program offers to our students and our community.” Serge also emphasizes the importance of the post-secondary partnership. “Our partnership is going very well with Ivy Tech. Both the high school and the College are committed to ensuring that students succeed.”

Triton High School (Marshall County) selected 20 incoming freshmen to take part in their first Early College cohort this fall.

Bob Ross, Triton High School Assistant Principal says the faculty and staff are committed to the success of Early College. “They have been supportive in implementing this program and have been working on it for the past two years.”

Ross also adds that the school is excited about the Ivy Tech partnership. “It has been a collaborative effort on the part of both institutions. It has been a great experience being able to share ideas with one another and work towards the same goal of providing opportunities to students to ease their transition from high school to college.”

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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