EAST CHICAGO | The Early College program at East Chicago Central High School recently received an endorsement from the University of Indianapolis-based Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning.
Michael Harding, School City of East Chicago superintendent, said the high school's program primarily allows students to obtain dual credit so they can earn college credits while still in high school.
"Students in our high school can earn as many as 60 (college) credits," Harding said.
The district pays for students in the program to take the college courses and transports them to nearby institutions of higher learning.
"It's a tremendous advantage for students who want to get an early start," Harding said.
Lydia Jagger, director of Early College at East Chicago Central, said 186 students at the school were able to earn college credit this past school year.
"They're being exposed to college work in high school so that when they do go off to college, they're prepared to stay in college," Jagger said.
Janet Boyle, assistant director of CELL, attended the East Chicago School Board meeting May 30 to present a banner to the high school to mark the program's three-year, full endorsement.
Jagger said this was the first year the program could apply for the endorsement, since a program must be in existence for three years before it is eligible.
Boyle said East Chicago Central underwent a rigorous process for endorsement that included a full-day site visit.
"First, we are very pleased that conversations about early college begins in your middle school," Boyle told the School Board. "Another very important part is your university partners. Many of our early colleges have partnerships with one higher education institution. You have four."
East Chicago Central has partnerships with Calumet College of St. Joseph, Indiana University Northwest, Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central.
Boyle recognized Jagger for her leadership of the program and said the culture of the high school has become more positive since the program started.
"It's making a significant difference in the lives of your students," Boyle said.