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Early college for all

In a low-income, all-Hispanic district in Texas, early college is the norm for all students, reports Thad Nodine of Jobs for the Future in College Success for All. More than 95 percent of students in the class of 2010 in Hidalgo Independent School District graduated with college credits. Two-thirds of graduating seniors had earned a full semester of college credit or more.

The district’s students are 99.5 percent Hispanic, 90 percent low-income and 53 percent limited English proficient.

Hidalgo adopted early college as a district-wide strategy, the report finds.

By embedding a college and career culture and focus in everyday activities, from elementary school through middle school and into high school, the school system now motivates and prepares all of its students for success in higher education.

This strategy, combined with the establishment of strong postsecondary partnerships with South Texas College,Texas State Technical College, and University of Texas-Pan American, more rigorous course sequencing, and high-quality career pathways has been a recipe for success.

The district, which is located on the border with Mexico, boasts a very high graduation rate. For the past two years,  Hidalgo Early College High School has been ranked as  one of the best high schools in America by U.S. News and World Report.