ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — An Early College High School started in Round Rock ISD in August, giving students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in high school. Since then, students have been using portable classrooms on the Austin Community College Round Rock campus.
“I knew ECHS would kind of push me out of my comfort zone,” said freshman Sofia Hernandez.
Students can earn up to an associate’s degree or 60 college hours and a high school diploma at the same time. More than 100 high school freshmen make up the first class of Round Rock Early College High School.
“Being able to just be ahead and also have time to think of what study we want to be under for our bachelors,” explains Hernandez.
The district offers the program to students for free, but the advanced school may not be for every kid. Curriculum is more individualized, much like college courses.
“It is difficult and it is very rigorous and there is pressure put on the student,” says Principal Clarissa Rodriguez. “But if they want it, they can achieve it.”
“It’s definitely different, but I think as we go on it will be a lot easier.”
The high school does not offer sports and all the extracurricular activities that a typical high school does. However, the school does have gym class, city council and yearbook. And they encourage kids to start their own clubs.
Round Rock ISD will add another grade each year, until they have 9th through 12th grade. The district hopes to eventually get students out of the portable classrooms and into a building of their own, but the district says they’d likely need to pass another bond to pay for it.
Round Rock ISD and Austin Community College will celebrate the official opening of the Round Rock Early College High School on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to noon, on the Austin Community College campus in Round Rock.