Dual Credit and Early College
High school students at Elkhart Community Schools have the opportunity to earn college credits through Dual Credit classes and Early College Programs.
Since 2014, these programs have saved our families over $5,723,800 in college credits. ECS has had multiple graduates earn an Associates Degree prior to high school graduation.
Dual Credit Offerings
Elkhart Community Schools currently has 22 fully-credentialed teachers who are certified to teach Dual Credit courses in partnership with local colleges.
- Advanced English 11/Composition
- Advanced Social Science
- Advanced Speech
- Creative Writing
- Finite Math
- French III
- French IV
- Japanese III
- Japanese IV
- Literature / English Literature
- Macro Economics
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Spanish III
- Spanish IV
- Studio Art 2D/3D
- US History
Students who successfully complete these advanced courses will receive college credit, as well as high school credit toward graduation.
About Early College
Students in the Early College program earn college credits free of charge and get a “jump start” on college; the cohesiveness of the cohort model helps to promote a “college-going culture”; students have an opportunity to explore college and career goals and with smaller caseloads, the Early College counselor has more time to spend with each student. Students are identified as potential participants in the Early College program during the first semester of 9th grade. There are several different factors counselors consider when reviewing students’ potential for success in the Early College program, including NWEA test scores, referrals, free/reduced lunch, attendance, teacher recommendations, participation in the Middle School Reaching Higher Program, ethnicity, and the students desire and commitment to being a part of the program. Students who are chosen to participate are expected to work hard in the classroom and obtain good grades; they are expected to be at school on time and on a regular basis; to stay in school for four years with the intent of obtaining a high school diploma and an Ivy Tech Community College Technical Certificate. Students are also expected to be a positive representative of the Early College program with their behavior and attitude.
Part of the Early College program is assisting parents through the college enrollment process and involving them with their students. Parent involvement is just as important to the program as the student’s eagerness to succeed. After students are identified as potential participants, both the parents and students meet with school staff to discuss Early College. Parents and students are then given the opportunity to talk about the decision and what it means for their family, and decide if the student wants to participate. If both the parents and student are in agreement, they will both sign a commitment form. Communication with parents becomes vital to the program. If parents, students, teachers, and school personnel create a team – success is more likely to occur.
In 2017, all three Elkhart Early College Programs became fully endorsed by Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), the accrediting body for Early College programs. Elkhart Central, Elkhart Memorial, and the Elkhart Area Career Center were the first schools in northern Indiana to become fully endorsed Early College programs, demonstrating the district’s commitment to preparing students to be career/college and life ready. The Elkhart Area Career Center was the first Career Technical Education (CTE) school in the state of Indiana to receive Early College endorsement.
Located at the University of Indianapolis, CELL is the only sanctioned group by the Commission for Higher Education to designate and endorse Early College programs.
The eight guiding principles for CELL endorsement include:
- Targeted student population
- Curriculum and plan of study
- College-going culture
- Rigorous instruction
- Supports for student success
- Collaboration and partnerships
- Leadership and staffing
- Data collection, analysis, and use