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WE Embrace Equity: Early College High School

"I knew I wanted to get better in my education and Early College at Portland Community College (PCC) is the perfect opportunity for me to be motivated. I don't think I would have finished if I hadn't joined PCC Early College," says student Fernando Rangel.

Early College High School (ECHS) is a program designed for students in the Beaverton School District who are first generation college students, who do not find traditional high school to be a good fit socially or educationally, or who just feel that there is "something more" for them in their education.  

"What's awesome about this program is that every day I come to work, I see hope in the faces of kids that were discouraged or disillusioned at their home high schools," says Jim Lekas, Instructor, Student Advisor.

Students take college-level courses and earn both high school and college credit.  They attend PCC full time for six terms, and can simultaneously earn their high school diploma, an Associate's Degree or up to two years of college credit in their career pathway.

Students in the Early College High School program are required to take three courses taught by ECHS instructors. College Success and Survival and College Study Skills provide ECHS students' college success skills like personal responsibility, self-motivation and interdependence along with study skills.  Career and Life Planning offers students the opportunity to explore their interests and passions.  "Part of the cost of college is not only success, you have to be willing to develop a vision for your life," says Lekas. "This course really begins to put some traction to their college dreams."

Who are Early College High School students?  Currently, there are 250 students enrolled in the program at the Rock Creek and Sylvania campuses.  Of those, 46% are from poverty, 45% are first generation college students, 34% are bilingual, and 6% are homeless.  The average incoming GPA is 2.34. 

Are they college ready?  98% of ECHS students earn a high school diploma; their average PCC GPA is 3.0. On average, ECHS students earn 70+ hours of transferrable college credit, and 35% are on the PCC Honor Roll. 

The mission of Early College High School is to provide all students, particularly those who are under-represented, the opportunity to complete a high school diploma, earn college credit and develop both a vision and a specific plan to create the life they want to live.