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Dover Post
  • Delaware State University launches Early College High School

  • Everyone has heard stories of kid geniuses who begin their college careers at age 14, but it’s not very often that you hear stories of more than 100 ninth graders getting a jump on their path to secondary education at the same time.
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  • Everyone has heard stories of kid geniuses who begin their college careers at age 14, but it’s not very often that you hear stories of more than 100 ninth graders getting a jump on their path to secondary education at the same time.
    Yet that’s what happened Wednesday when 132 freshman launched their high school and college careers simultaneously at Delaware State University’s Early College High School.
    Starting Aug. 25, the program will operate as a charter school run out of DSU facilities, and will allow students from across the state to earn between 24 and 60 college credits by taking college courses in addition to their high school classes.
    Students will take up to six college credits their freshman year, including a computer science course and a freshman seminar, which aims to teach them time management and college success skills, in addition to their core subjects. As students advance they will take more and more college classes, until they are taking up to 24 credits.
    During the 2014-2015 school year, classes will be held at DSU’s Living and Learning Commons, which is located in what was once The Sheraton on North Dupont Highway.
    Once they are out of their freshman year, the students will be integrated into regular college classes on DSU’s campus, though the long range goal for both the university and the early college high school program is for the charter school to have its own building on the campus, said Judi Coffield, director of the early college high school.
    Dover resident Taylor Prouse, who last year attended Central Middle School, is one of the students will be attending the Early College High School at DSU next year said she’s looking forward to the rigor.
    “The students are very motivated, so that puts a good act on me,” she said. “In middle school, I know kids were just slacking off, but in this school, the teachers have a high expectation of you and the students like to work with you and that puts a good act on you.”
    When students graduate from the program, they will be given a high school diploma and a DSU transcript. Students who graduate with 60 credits could potentially enter college as juniors, meaning that they would have earned two years’ worth of college credits for free. Even the students college text books will be paid for, Coffield said.
    “A big bonus of this model is that it reduces student debt and the cost of going to a higher education institution,” she said. “They enter the workforce with less debt and it saves them up to two years of time.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The school’s curriculum has a specific emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, and is designed to target students who are typically underrepresented in college settings, though the school accepts all types of students as long as they were willing to work hard, Coffield said.
    “We won’t push kids until they fail. We’ll push kids to meet their highest potential,”Coffield said. “It’s about having students experience success in college courses and build that self-confidence, that they know they can accomplish college.”
    In addition to the academic benefits, Hartly resident Jessica Deitrich, a freshman at the Early College High School, said she’s also is looking forward to being studying on DSU’s campus.
    “Most of my aunts and uncles on my step-mother’s side have gone through here,” she said. “They’ve always had a great time. They told me this was a wonderful place to be and I could get two years of college for free. I feel like that would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone.”
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