Jordan-Elbridge High School students detail experience in Early College High School program
Jordan-Elbridge High School senior Erica Schultz has a full schedule to say the least. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Schultz currently carries a 3.8 grade point average in the college classes she takes at Onondaga Community College (OCC), and that’s on top of her classes at JE and being a member of the cheerleading team. In total, she’s earned 24 college credits and is on track to receive 36 before she graduates.
Schultz and six other students from JEHS participate in the Early College High School (ECHS) program where they go to OCC during the morning and return to JE after lunch. At a Board of Education meeting in January, she and two other participants – Hugh Schader and Mary Elizabeth Dristle – presented a day in the life of a student in the program.
“Between OCC and high school, each student takes at least seven classes every day. Each semester, students are earning up to 18 SUNY credit hours,” she said. “The best thing is that these classes are in areas that students are interested in.”
While the Early College High School program is in its first year, this isn’t the first year students at the high school have been eligible to earn college credits. In recent years, students have taken classes through OCC, Cayuga Community College, and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) through its Project Lead the Way program.
The (ECHS) program affords students the opportunity to earn high school and college credits concurrently and graduate with two degrees: a high school diploma and associate’s degree. Principal David Zehner said all the college credits earned in the program also transfer to SUNY schools.
“We offer more than 85 college credits here right now, and for someone like Erica, all of her credits are guaranteed to transfer to a SUNY school,” he said. “In this program, the kids have to be very independent. They’re essentially on their own when they go to OCC, and must be on top of the work. It gives them a real college experience.
Schader, who is a junior this year, takes calculus, sociology, meteorology, and accounting at OCC. His goal is to attend a four-year college, and hopes to graduate high school with enough credits to equal an associate’s degree.
“This is a great opportunity so I want to earn as many credits as possible,” he said. “It’s a good experience and you really have to be on top of things.