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Early College High School 

 
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Purpose
The Early College High School will provide students the opportunity to complete a high school diploma and earn transferable college credits (up to 60 hours) with the opportunity of earning an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree at no cost. The ECHS provides students with a "seamless" pathway from high school to college. The program supports high school students as they gradually integrate into college coursework through a traditional high school degree plan plus dual enrollment. Completing the ECHS graduation requirements will ensure students are college-ready and able to successfully transition to a post-secondary college/university as well as transition directly into the workforce.
 
Objectives
  • Offer rigorous instructions & accelerated courses
  • Provide supportive learning environment
  • Increase college & career readiness
 
Benefits of Early College High School
  • Earn an Associates of Arts or Science degree free of charge
  • Smaller learning community
  • Attend college classes & explore career options
  • 1:1 technology environment
  • Student clubs
 
Is ECHS for me?
Tomball Star Academy is for students who are...
  • Focused on academics
  • Seeking a smaller learning community
  • Planning to graduate with a high school diploma and an Associates of Arts or Science degree
  • Wanting to save time and money in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree
  • Interested in student clubs related to engineering, fine arts, or robotics

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Institute of Higher Learning (IHE) Partner?
Lone Star College – Tomball is our college partner, also referred to as the Institution of Higher Education (IHE) partner.  Lone Star College – Tomball’s commitment is not supplementary.  The partnership is a core component of the ECHS.  Lone Star College – Tomball’s partnership enable students to:
  • Earn an Associate of Art or Science degree – tuition free while in high school.
  • Earn as many as 60 hours of tuition-free college credit.
  • Eliminate thousands of dollars in college tuition costs.
 
What is Dual Credit? 
Dual credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college courses for credit while still in high school. College credits earned through dual credit can be applied toward high school and college graduation and can be transferred to other colleges or universities. Tomball Star Academy is an ECHS (early college high school) where students can earn dual credit in a number of academic areas including math, science, English, government, history, and more.
 
A dual credit program benefits students in a number of ways
  • Provides a head start on postsecondary core requirements.
  • Lowers the cost of college because courses successfully completed when initially taken are tuition-free.  Textbooks for all courses are also provided to students at no cost.  
  • Expands the variety of classes available to high school students.
  • Allows access to college facilities/activities–such as fine arts performances, career development services, Lone Star social opportunities, computer labs, Lone Star college libraries, and learning skills/tutoring services.
  • Provides greater opportunities for a coordinated, seamless education.
  • Serves as an introduction to college life.
  • Allows for an easier transition to college.
  • Builds students’ confidence and self-esteem.  
Will college credits transfer to a 2 or 4-year college or university?
College credits earned through the ECHS may be transferred to a public college or university in Texas.  Credits could be transferred to out-of-state public and private colleges or universities depending on the institution’s credit transfer policies.  
 
What are the differences between the Tomball Star Academy Early College and the Tomball Academy of Innovation P-TECH?
Both programs are innovative open-enrollment high schools that allow students an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and an associate degree.  Each school recruits and enrolls historically underserved students, targeting at-risk and economically disadvantaged. Early College and the Early College P-TECH provide students from grades 9 through 12 the opportunity to complete a course of study that combines high school and dual credit college courses.
 
The hallmark of the ECHS model is that it is an open enrollment program that blends college and high school coursework, enabling students to earn up to two years of college credit (60 hours) OR an Associate of Arts or Science degree (tuition-free), while enrolled in high school. This program prepares students for post secondary expectations at four year universities, and many TSA ECHS graduates have gone on to be successful at four year universities (both public and private).
 
The hallmark of the P-TECH model is its career focus and the provision for work-based education. In addition to the early college academic, diploma and degree opportunities, the Tomball Academy of Innovation P-TECH program: 
  • Enable students to earn health profession based certifications and/or a health professions occupational skills certificate within four years. 
  • Offer work-based learning through and with our partners in every grade level.
  • Connect students to professional mentors from HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball.  
  • Offer graduates first in line interviewing for jobs at HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball.
 
Where will students attend class?
The Tomball Star Academy ECHS will be housed at the Tomball Innovation Center with some courses taken at Lone Star College – Tomball. 
 
Can students participate in extracurricular activities offered at the high school like sports, band or choir?
No, ECHS students will not be participating in traditional extra-curricular activities with Tomball High School or Tomball Memorial High School students.  However, there are clubs and intramurals including Book Club, Science Olympiad, Music and Guitar Club, Student Council, Craft Club, History Club, and Key Club, among others.
 
Who can attend the Tomball Star Academy ECHS?
The ECHS is open to all 8th-grade TISD students who are motivated and willing to commit to a highly rigorous academic four-year program.  The ECHS is designed to serve students who have the determination to attend college and are first-generation college students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Interested eighth-grade students, who will be freshmen next year, can apply for the upcoming school year.
 
There are no prerequisites required for this program.  
 
How are students selected?
Near the end of the fall semester, an online application will open (location?).  If more than 100 students apply, a lottery system will be used to determine the students selected for the ECHS cohort.  Students will be notified in February? if they have been selected to participate in the ECHS opportunity.  COMMITMENT WINDOW
 
Parents and guardians are an important part of the process and need to demonstrate their support. Therefore, parents or guardians of selected students will be required to attend orientation and onboarding meetings.   

How much will tuition, college textbooks, and fees be for students?
All tuition, books, and fees are available at no cost to students and their families. However, students needing to take a dual credit or college credit course an additional time assume tuition and fee costs for that class.   
 
What support is provided to help students be successful in college-level classes, Tomball Advance Placement (TAP), homework and study demands, and the other challenges of participating in non-traditional, highly focused and rigorous school?
The Tomball Star Academy teachers and support teams are dedicated to ensuring students will receive academic and social support. College success strategies on how to organize, study, plan, take notes and manage time, will be incorporated in all high school courses. All students are also enrolled in a PCC (Path College Career) course to strengthen those soft skills needed for post secondary success. College and career advising will also be provided to discuss and plan future career and educational options and opportunities. 
 
Will students be allowed to drive their own car to the Tomball Innovation Center and Lone Star College campus?
Yes, students may drive but may not drive other students.
 
How many college hours can students earn a Tomball Star Academy?
Students have the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours and obtain an Associate of Arts or Science degree from Lone Star College–Tomball.

Where is Tomball Star Academy located?
Tomball Star Academy is located on the second floor of Tomball High School, 30330 Quinn Road. Tomball Star Academy and Tomball High School are two separate high schools located at the same facility. However, Tomball Star Academy maintains its own colors, mascot, and admissions criteria.

What technology will be available?
Tomball Star Academy will utilize a 1:1 learning environment where students are assigned a personal technological device for use in and outside the classroom.

Will transportation be provided to Tomball Star Academy?
Transportation will be provided within Tomball ISD.

Can students try out Tomball Star Academy for a few weeks and then transfer if they don’t like it?
No, there is no trial period. Once assigned to Tomball Star Academy, students will adhere to Tomball ISD’s transfer policy. Tomball Star Academy is designed for dedicated students who are committed to taking college courses sooner than most students. The program will prepare students for the next step in achieving their academic and career goals.

Can I transfer to Tomball Star Academy later in my high school career?
A student may enter Tomball Star Academy as a mid-year freshman as space allows.
 
Can I participate in athletics, band, and other extracurricular activities at the high school I would attend by district assignment?
Tomball Star Academy students do not participate in UIL extracurricular activities such as athletics, choir, band, FFA, etc. However, students may participate in clubs uniquely designed for Tomball Star Academy.

Will dual credit classes still be available at other Tomball ISD high schools?
Yes, other high schools will continue offering dual credit classes. Tomball Star Academy is its own high school with curriculum designed to achieve an Associate of Arts or Science degree.