Lassiter Early College High School hosts Michigan community college leaders

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Leadership from Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan visited Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Jr. Early College High School at El Centro College this week to learn what makes the Blue Ribbon School successful.

“We want to grow in Grand Rapids, which means we have to go where people are doing it well and learn what we can,” said David Selmon, associate dean of academic outreach at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). “That’s why we are here today.”

GRCC Dean of Academic Outreach Dan Clark said he was particularly interested in the strong partnership Dallas ISD has with the Dallas County Community College District. He said such a partnership is vital to the success of an early college high school program.

Clark said the early college high school model is a transforming way to do education. He said that less than 50 percent of students who graduate high school go on to a college or university. Of those who do go to a college or university, 50 percent drop out or discontinue their education in less than a year.

“We have to change that broken system, and the early college high school model is a way to do that,” he said.

Lassiter Early College High School Principal Michael St. Ama said it was a pleasure to host the GRCC representatives, tour them around the school, and answer any questions.

“Given the transformative nature of the early college program and the impact it is having on so many lives of first-generation college students, it is important that we share best practices with our colleagues who are looking to increase the number of students participating in early college,” Ama said.

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