Selected readings on US charter schools
Palo Alto College and Texas A&M-San Antonio have partnered with New Frontiers Charter School to open an early college academy on the South Side, representatives from each institution announced last week.
The four-year school, which has yet to be named, will admit 75 freshmen for the 2014-2015 school year and eventually will enroll a total of 300. The school is slated to be housed on Palo Alto’s campus, and will be state-funded with no cost to parents.
According to New Frontiers superintendent Alfredo Segura, the program will allow high school students to gain as many as 60 hours of college credit — equivalent to $5,000 in tuition at Texas A&M-SA. While Segura cautioned that acceptance would be very selective at the school, he said that it would take applications from kids all over the South Side, as well as the whole of Bexar County.
“We have to be real about barriers that kids in (South San Antonio) face when talking about secondary education,” Segura said of rising college costs and admissions competition. “(With) this program, we’re trying to avoid stereotypes that college is only for certain individuals.”
Segura explained that students at New Frontiers will be placed in a STEM, art or business career path. Credit gained in these fields, according to Eric Lopez, A&M-SA dean of education, could mean students graduate with an associate degree, continue on through two years at Palo Alto and finish their four-year degree at a school such as Texas A&M-SA.
“An A&M degree in cybersecurity, for example, costs about $10,000,” Lopez explained. “But after getting credit (with this) high school and going through Palo Alto, the cost ends up being $5,000.”
The new school will join early college programs at Harlandale and San Antonio independent school districts as opportunities for college credit on the South Side, where there is a growing movement toward the early college model, Lopez said.
“A lot of these kids at these type of schools, they’re first-time college-goers,” he explained. “They can see, taking these courses, that high school doesn’t have to be the end of the trail.”
Segura said the application process will begin in January 2014 and finalize in May, but added that parents and students are encouraged to notify officials at New Frontiers of their interest before that period.
Source: San Antonio Express-News – by Jeremy Gerlach