Newsweek magazine ranked Aldine Independent School District’s Victory Early College High School (VECHS) as a top rated performer for schools which beat the odds, performing better than statistically expected for their socio-economic status.
Lone Star College partners with Aldine ISD and supports VECHS with its Early College High School (ECHS) program. ECHS combines high school and college work to enable students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree, or 60 college credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree.
The VECHS 2013-14 senior class graduated 100 percent of its student body, conferring them with Distinguished high school diplomas. There were also 60 associate degree awarded to students who were able to finish both high school and two years of college at the same time.
VECHS was ranked 198th in the magazine’s Top 500 list for schools that beat the odds, performing better than statistically expected for their level of poverty by scoring at or above the average on state assessments.
The Distinguished diploma demonstrates a student went above and beyond the Recommended Plan diploma and helps to make the student stand out from other college applicants who have not completed as difficult requirements.
“This is such a wonderful testament to the hard work these students do,” said Dr. Charlotte Twardowski, LSC-North Harris director of educational services and partnerships.
“The early college was designed for those students who are determined to complete their education. The early college targets the middle 60 percent of the eighth grade classes that are first-generation, have socio-economic needs and could be at-risk of not completing high school,” said Twardowski.
“Additionally, the students usually are the first in their families to graduate high school and attend college, both of which increases the college knowledge in the home and family,” she said.
Newsweek magazine gave VECHS an 86.55 index on having students college ready which ranked them 198 out of 500 schools listed. The AISD campus was rated with at a 72.89 percentage poverty level.
The index is used to identify high schools whose performance exceeds their state’s average by 0.5 standard deviations or more when accounting for a student’s socioeconomic status. The rankings are based on a series of factors including enrollment and graduation rate, weighted SAT/ACT composites, student attrition and counselor-to-student ratio.
“An integral part of our success is due to the partnership we have with Lone Star College,” said Dr. Phyllis Cormier, VECHS principal. “Our partnership gives students opportunities to be successful and college ready.”
“Many of the students work to help support their families financially, which affects their study time,” said Twardowski. “Others may have to take care of younger brothers and sisters while their parents are at work. To be able to juggle all these responsibilities and graduate is very special.”
This is not the first time VECHS has been recognized. The campus earned a Gold Medal in U.S. News & World Report‘s high school rankings in April 2014 as one of the outstanding low income high schools in the nation.
Lone Star College is also working with the East Aldine community in developing the LSC-East Aldine Center, which will provide affordable, convenient access to workforce and academic training to better serve students and residents. The center is scheduled to open in summer 2016.
In addition the Lone Star College System Board of Trustees has voted to place a bond referendum before voters on the November ballot, which will continue to provide area students with convenient access to higher education. Funds from the bond will be used to create more learning space and construct new Advanced Technology Centers in all of the LSC service areas including LSC-North Harris, to help address the unprecedented growth in the area and fill the critical shortage of trained workers.
Lone Star College has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSC remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with almost 83,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 95,000, Lone Star College is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online.