Early College recruits students, looks ahead

As it develops a plan for long-term survival, a school district program that teaches high school students college-level classes is accepting applications for the next school year.

Early College High School announced the call for students Tuesday and posted the application at earlycollege.nmusd.us.

A short-term contract that kept the school running expires this summer, but the program will continue operating in 2013-14, according to Newport-Mesa Unified.

Early College exists by partnering with a college to teach courses at its Mesa Verde campus.

Since 2006, students have had the chance to enter a higher-education atmosphere early and earn credit in classes taught by Coastline Community College professors.

Newport-Mesa planned to move the school into Coastline's newly built Newport Beach campus in 2012, but design disagreements killed that idea.

When that plan fell through and grant money that had previously funded the project ran out, Newport-Mesa's school board voted to keep Early College at Mesa Verde and pay Coast $127,500 for a semester's instructional services.

That deal ends after this school year.

Newport-Mesa's head of secondary education said the program will continue whether the district strikes another short-term deal or finds a long-term partner.

"We've contacted several colleges and universities as potential partners," Assistant Supt. Charles Hinman said. "And we have some very, very good leads that we are confident about."

Hinman said he is looking for a college willing to lease space at Mesa Verde to host classes that include Early College students.

The school board has authorized more than half a million dollars to modernize or upgrade that campus.

But, Hinman said, all options are on the table.

"If we had a college partner, for example, that called us and said, 'We are willing to house Early College High School on campus,' [we] would consider that too," Hinman said. But "that's a long shot."


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