FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - FAQ s
What is an Early College Charter School?
An alternative educational system based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. The early college high schools blend high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program, compressing the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college.
What is the purpose of this Early College Charter School?
The mission of the Phoenix Early College Charter School is to provide an integrated secondary and postsecondary academic program so all students eam one to two years of transferable college credit leading to college completion or technical certificates to make them workforce ready while fulfilling the requirement for a high school diploma. Early College Charter School shall serve students Grades 9 through 12 and shall target at-risk student who are underrepresented in higher education.
Who does the Phoenix Early College Charter School Serve?
It is proposed that this Early College Charter School will serve the students in Natchez/Adams County. There is legislation that is pushing to allow students from outside the district to attend also but that has not been approved at this point.
The Early College Charter School is a proven model. Early college high schools have been in existence since early 2002. There are more than 250 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Those states that have large numbers of early college high schools include: Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and California. These 250 plus schools provide a significant amount of data and a model to build from. Studies of our predecessors have shown that a cohort system allows students to work in an application based working environment with a consistent set of students and teachers.
Why does an Early College Charter School produce results?
Because it requires accountability and innovation. Accountability for success falls directly on the shoulders of the student and teachers. Students must maintain an established set of requirements to preserve enrollment. Parents may be contractually required to provide a stated time commitment to the school and in working with students at home. Teacher employment requires student success at each level, eliminating the problem of "passing them along". Coupled together this set of circumstances show that standardized test scores increase among ECHS students in comparison to their public school counterparts, these students earn higher average GPA's, high school graduation rates measure in the 90% range and over three quarters of them ultimately receive college acceptance at four year institutions. Innovation is linked to accountability and performance. Charter schools acknowledge that education is not a one size fit all and that each student has individual learning needs. A charter school is able to make immediate improvements and/or changes in teaching that address the individual need of each student.
Who will the early college charter school serve?
The schools are designed so that low-income youth, firstgeneration college goers, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education. The "middle-SO" tend to be the students interested in a model like Early College. Many fear their gifted students will leave but those students often love their high school and all that comes along with the traditional high school setting. The very low end kids who parents are not an active influence, tend to shy away from the amount of work that it takes to be successful. So the Middle 50 tend to be student who are motivated or have parental motivation and are looking for something different than the traditional high school. .
What will be the main teaching methodology for Phoenix Early College Charter School?
A. Project Based Learning- a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn a subject in the context of complex, multifaceted, and realistic problems. Working in groups, students identify what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to resolution of the problem. The role of the instructor is that of facilitator of learning who provides appropriate scaffolding of that process by (for example), asking probing questions, providing appropriate resources, and leading class discussions, as well as designing student assessments. Project-based learning provides greater relevance and building sf community within the student cohort.
B. Extensive Writing Practice- Writing skills are very important for students preparing for college. Students at RCA will be pushed to express themselves on paper in both formal and informal formats. Daily emphasis will be placed on expressing ideas in a ereative and correctly formatted manner using The Five Step Writing Process.
C. Higher Level Thinking Skills- Higher order thinking skills include critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking. They are activated when individuals encounter unfamiliar problems, uncertainties, questions, or dilemmas. Successful applications of the skills result in explanations, discussions, decisions, performances, and products that are valid within the context of available knowledge and resources.
D. Leadership and Character Development- Leadership and character development is very important to the PECCS model. As we attempt to create the leaders of tomorrow, teachers will be placing students in scenarios to develop their leadership qualities and helping them understand the importance of great character in the real world. Students will often be asked to lead and share their opinions on societal issues in think tank formats.
What is the organizational structure of an early college charter school?
An early college charter school has its own board, hires its own principal and teachers. The school will contract with the state of Mississippi and will renew its contract every 5 years.
How many students would attend the Early Gollege Charter School?
It is proposed that the school would be chartered to begin in the fall of 2015 with 75 gth grade students. Each year the Early College Charter School would add 75 more students. This means that by the end of year 4 there would be no more than 300 students attending.
How are students selected?
Students are drawn by lottery.
How can the community receive more information about the proposed Early College Charter School?
The community is invited to attend information meetings regarding the proposed Early College Charter School. There will be a website available for additional information very soon. The Phoenix Community Development organization can be contacted for additional information.