Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) offers the designated Early College High School (ECHS) program at all seven BISD high schools. A plan the Texas Education Agency (TEA) endorses as “College for Everyone” is now an everyday occurrence for any Brownsville student.
The Early College High School program introduces college level learning to secondary students, with the opportunity to earn not only a high school diploma, but up to 60 college credit hours, at no cost to the high school students or their families. Qualifying school districts must enter into an agreement with an institution of higher learning in order to gain TEA approval.
Here’s how the ECHS model works in Brownsville. District high schools currently offer over 20 dual enrollment courses including art, music, Spanish, psychology, and speech. Students are enrolled in the ECHS courses which are offered in several different ways. The majority of the courses are taught by qualified BISD teachers with Master’s degrees or adjunct college instructors. However, in order to broaden student access for dual credit, students now have on-line options available at UTRGV and summer concurrent enrollment opportunities at both TSC and UTRGV.
Students also receive a range of support services such as tutorials and preparation for the Texas Success Initiative which is used to determine placement in college courses. District ECHS students receive the same support services enjoyed by on-campus college students.
Each Brownsville ECHS has a college readiness counselor who aligns the college program of study with the BISD curriculum. An ECHS director at each campus ensures that students successfully meet the academic rigor of college courses and that the ECHS campuses meet the standards of the college designation.
Saving time and money in the pursuit of a college education is important. Brownsville ISD is taking the lead by offering this educational opportunity at all seven high schools.