Midland College: Early College High School at Midland College

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In May 2013, over 70 students in the first class of Early College High School at Midland College (ECHS@MC) received associate degrees during Midland College's (MC) 40th commencement ceremony. A week later, in a separate ceremony, the 17- and 18-year-old college graduates received high school diplomas when ECHS@MC observed its first high school graduation ceremony at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center on the MC campus located in Midland, Texas.

ECHS@MC is a joint educational commitment by Midland College and the Midland Independent School District (MISD). The majority of students attending the high school located on the college campus include underserved minority, low-income, and potential first-generation college students who often lack family resources and experiences with higher education.

In the fall of 2009, the first cohort of more than 100 ninth-grade students were admitted into ECHS@MC. Four years later, 73 percent of those students graduated from Midland College and transferred to four-year universities. This means that these students have the potential of graduating with baccalaureate degrees by the time they are 20! When a sample of ECHS@MC students were surveyed about plans after obtaining bachelor degrees, three out of five stated that they wanted to return to Midland, mainly because the community provided such generous scholarships and educational resources. They want to reside in Midland in order to work, raise families, and give back to the community.

MISD Superintendent, Dr. Ryder Warren, said,

One of the shining examples of success from the partnership between Midland ISD and Midland College is Early College High School at Midland College. Through the support of our two organizations, charitable foundations, business leaders, and our community as a whole, we have developed a culture of excellence at ECHS@MC in which hundreds of young men and women not only earn high school diplomas from MISD, but also earn an associate's degree from Midland College. Their success is a true testament to the nature of giving and support that Midland gives its children.

The early college high school philosophy is not unique to Midland; however, the first graduating class of ECHS@MC had one of the highest percentages of students receiving both associate degrees and high school diplomas in the state. In addition, since its opening in 2009, ECHS@MC has always had the highest state test scores in MISD, as well as the best discipline and attendance reports.

In January 2014, Midland College and Midland Independent School District officials were notified that ECHS@MC had received the Texas Comptroller's 2013 Texas Honors Circle Award. This prestigious award recognizes campuses that achieve academic success through cost-effective operations. Award recipients achieve strong academic performance while spending relatively less in comparison with their fiscal peers. 

"Early College High School at Midland College is closing the achievement gaps among different demographic groups," stated MC President Dr. Steve Thomas. "Because of this successful partnership between MC and MISD and the support that both entities are able to give these students, they are successful in their high school classes as well as their college courses. We set the standards high, and ECHS@MC students have not disappointed us."

For more information, contact Rebecca Bell, Dean, Community Relations & Special Events, Midland College.