An early college high school, the Arlington Collegiate High School, will open on Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus in August, where Arlington freshmen will get a head start on their college careers.
The Texas Education Agency approved the joint effort between the Arlington school district and TCC for a school that will start out with 100 freshmen and eventually be at full capacity with 400 students.
Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said students will be able to get their high school diplomas and associate degrees and receive free transportation, instruction and books. Students who are eligible for special programs like free or reduced-cost lunches can carry over their eligibility.
Cavazos said the school district and college are hashing out an application process for eighth-graders. That information will be made available from junior high school counselors on aisd.net in February.
“Our students continue to demonstrate that they are prepared for accelerated learning through their grades, performance and their dedication to their studies,” Cavazos said of the potentially daunting coursework.
The purpose of the Arlington Collegiate High School is to target youths who would not otherwise consider college, a goal that is similar to that of another school district initiative.
In late November, the district also announced a partnership with UT Arlington to give the top 20 percent of students in the Arlington school district access to attend college though its “ Bound for Success” initiative.
About 1,500 Arlington juniors already received acceptance letters to UTA upon graduation.
These juniors are working with academic counselors on their respective high schools and receive financial-aid counseling and special access to UTA events to ease the transition.
The Arlington Collegiate High School will only be open to eighth-graders because, “due to the nature of the program, students have to start as part of the freshman cohort,” district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston said.
Ben Bholan, who was hired by the district in 1995, was announced as principal for the Arlington Collegiate High School during the board meeting Thursday.
Bholan was recently principal at Ferguson Junior High and has a bachelor’s from Texas Wesleyan and a master’s and doctorate from UT Arlington.