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The Early College High School (ECHS) at Trinity Valley Community College is a partnership between TVCC and Athens Independent School District.  College courses are held on the TVCC campus, while high school courses are held on the Athens High School campus.

For more information, contact the Director of Dual Credit.



Early College High Schools (ECHS) are innovative high schools located on or in close proximity to a college campus that allow students least likely to attend college an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and 60 college credit hours. Early College High Schools:

     • Provide dual credit at no cost to students

     • Offer rigorous instruction and accelerated courses

     • Provide academic and social support services to help students succeed

     • Increase college readiness

     • Reduce barriers to college access

Difference between Dual Credit and Early College High School
Early colleges are different from other dual credit programs in whom they serve and how they serve that population. A typical dual credit program offers between 12 and 30 hours of college credit for students at a regular high school that have demonstrated readiness for college level work, usually in the 11th or 12th grade. In contrast, early colleges are small high schools, often located on a college campus and focused on a population of students who would are traditionally lost in transition between high school and college.
Early college high schools are purposefully designed to provide students with a personalized, blended, and supportive program that introduces college-level skills and course work in the 9th or 10th grade and gives them an opportunity to earn either an Associate’s degree or up to 60 college credit hours in addition to a high school diploma. Students accrue college hours through some mix of dual credit, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. At the same time, students are provided with a series of support structures, including counseling, mentoring, and tutoring designed to help them succeed. The overall goal of the Early College High School Program is to create a seamless transition between high school and college by compressing the timeline for and increasing opportunities to obtain a college degree.
Why is the Early College High School Model Successful?
An Early college High School requires a district to partner with an institution of higher education to design a school that transforms the traditional curriculum sequence and modes of instruction to allow for a closer alignment between high school and college. By working in close partnership, school districts and institutions of higher education are able to serve students in a more personalized and efficient manner that leads to higher levels of student success. Working in close partnership requires and creates:
Shared Vision & Understanding of Roles & Responsibilities

     • Expectations for students and parents

     • Memorandum of Understanding between education partners

 Culture of Learning and Support

     • Focus on rigorous instruction and accelerated coursework

     • A college-going culture that provides high school students with access to college facilities and services

     • Student support systems including tutoring, counseling, and mentoring

     • Collaborative teaching and professional development

 Focus on Outcomes

     • Increase high school graduation and retention for students at risk of not graduating

     • Reduce barriers to college access for first-generation college-goers

     • Increase attainment of postsecondary education and training