Tulsa Public Schools is moving forward with its new early college high school program as enrollment opens Tuesday.
The program is for eighth graders moving on to Memorial or McLain high school next year. When they graduate high school, they’ll have earned an associate’s degree as well as their diploma.
TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said the initial focus is on kids who would be first-generation college students.
"We know from research that students who participate in these programs are significantly more likely to enroll in college. I believe it’s more than 80% more likely to enroll in college," Gist said.
In ninth grade, students will learn skills to prepare them for college, like time management. They'll start taking courses at Tulsa Community College in their 10th grade year and will earn an associate’s degree with either a liberal arts or a science, technology, engineering and math emphasis by the time they graduate high school.
That leaves them with two years of college to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Memorial Principal Dr. Becca Grooms said the program is perfect for her school.
"We’re about 80% free/reduced lunch. So, we have a lot of high-need students, many from single-parent households, and, you know, going to college is very confusing, let alone if you’ve never been through a process like that," Grooms said.
The program is free of charge and includes transportation to TCC for classes. All TPS eighth-grade students are eligible to apply, and more information is available on the district website.