Current Work

Early College Designs

Reinventing High Schools for Postsecondary Success

Combining high school and college in a rigorous, supportive environment that enables struggling students to graduate with college credit and the tools for postsecondary success.

Joel Vargas
Vice President, School and Learning Designs
617.728.4446 x117

Current Work

Investing in Innovation (i3)

With a $15 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, we are leading the expansion of Early College Designs to 30,000 additional students in Denver and South Texas over five years. Both are fast-growing regions with large populations of low-income and minority students. The three participating districts already had thousands of students enrolled in college courses and is building on this foundation to convert high schools into early colleges. The i3 initiative enables high school students to earn at least 12 college credits, including English and math “gatekeeper” courses required for all undergraduates, as well as STEM and CTE classes, getting a substantial head start on college at no cost to their families. Our partners are the Denver Public Schools, Educate Texas, Brownsville Independent School District, and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District. Our focus is to help schools to incorporate our Common Instructional Framework—six strategies to increase college readiness—and provide coaching to support teacher and student development.

If you are part of an i3 site, please visit the community of practice. Coaches, please file your coaching activity reports here (login required).

Please see our other Early College Design Services work. We have also proposed an idea to give more students, particularly low-income students, the opportunity to participate in early college high schools, including a proposal with national early college partners.

Early College High School Week

Early College High School Week is an annual celebration of the successes of early college high schools across the country. JFF created and sponsors this event to highlight Early College Designs and their remarkable results, especially for young people of color or from low-income backgrounds. Early college schools and their partners bring together students, administrators, parents, community leaders, and legislators at events across the United States. Find more information on the Week.

National Early College High School Conference

In October 2013, JFF, with North Carolina New Schools, convened over 600 educators, administrators, policymakers, and thought leaders for a National Early College Conference. The conference brought great energy to the idea that Early College Designs can prepare your students for college by leveraging proven classroom strategies, emerging technology, and partnerships with colleges and employers. Practitioners demostrated purposeful designs and powerful results. Video recordings and resources from the conference are available here. Save the date for a December 2014 conference!

For information about previous Early College Designs projects, see History.