- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

MAYHEW, Miss. (AP) - A new dual-track high school/community college school is being planned for north Mississippi next fall with students who graduate in four years earning not only with a high school diploma but also a junior college associate degree.

The project is a partnership among East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Education.

The Commercial Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1yQmqG4 ) the Early College High School will be located at EMMC’s Mayhew campus.

The inaugural ninth-grade class of no more than 50 students will begin classes in the fall of 2015.

Myra Pannell, a senior research assistant at MSU’s Research and Curriculum Unit, said the program is open to students in Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties entering ninth grade. The school will add a grade each year over the next four years.

“We are looking for students that, for whatever reason, might not be on track to continue their education beyond high school,” Pannell said. “These are students that might not take Advanced Placement courses in high school, but could excel with extra support.”

School officials are especially interested in students from low income, minority and/or first generation college students.

Pannell said the school can offer transportation, meals and other financial support that help ensure the student has no barriers toward completing a dual-studies program.

“It is a commitment — there’s no doubt about that,” Pannell said. “It’s a commitment for the student, who will be taken out of the normal high school environment. It’s a commitment for the parents, too. But we think the benefits are obvious. It creates such a great advantage for the students.”

In its first year, which will include only ninth-grade, the school staff will be composed of a principal, three teachers, a counselor and a liaison from EMCC. Additional staff will be brought in as grades are added each year.

“We hope to draw eight-to-10 students from each of the area high schools with a cap that first year of 50 students,” Pannell said. “In the spring, we will start visiting the schools to share information about the application process.”

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com


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