The Socorro Independent School District will open three new early college high school programs at the start of the 2019-20 school year. Early college high school programs give students the opportunity to graduate from high school with up to 60 college credit hours or an associate degree, along with their high school diploma.
The Empire Early College at El Dorado High School, the Falcon Early College at Eastlake and the Pebble Hills Early College each will welcome 135 incoming freshmen from their feeder areas to the program. With the opening of the new early colleges, SISD will be the only district in the region to have an early college high school program in each of its comprehensive high schools.
“We were very excited that the Texas Education Agency allowed Team SISD to move forward with the launch of three more early college high school programs,” said Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “This shows that we want equity in SISD. We want the same kind of opportunities for all students.”
SISD opened Mission Early College High School, the first program of its kind in the region and one of the first in the state, in 2006. The district opened three more within a three-year span – Socorro Early College in 2015, Rams Early College in 2016, and Trailblazers Early College in 2017.
“We are thrilled that our feeder pattern will provide our students a K-16 environment,” said Vanessa Betancourt, principal at El Dorado High School. “Our scholars will have the opportunity to learn in a postsecondary environment, earn college credit and achieve high levels of success.”
The district currently has 1,465 students enrolled in the district’s current four early college programs. This year, Socorro Early College will celebrate its first cohort of graduates.
“Our Socorro Early College students will earn their associate’s degree in May, prior to their high school graduation June 1,” said Diane Duncan, Socorro Early College director. “Many of them will be first time degree holders in their family. They’ve worked hard, and we know this is a phenomenal thing for our students and community!”