For more than nine years, the Toledo Early College High School (TECHS) has done more than just prepare its students for college; it has immersed them in it.
By the time they graduate, many of these students already will have two years of college under their belts. TECHS students can take up to 60 credits of general education classes at The University of Toledo.
“Toledo Early College High School creates pathways and opportunities for students to complete high school and go on to college,” said Dr. Dennis Lettman, dean of the UT College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and co-founder of TECHS. “These are students who, without this opportunity, might not take advantage of going to college, and this gives them that opportunity.”
Students at TECHS, which is located on Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, have Rocket Cards just like other UT students. TECHS students also have participated in the homecoming parade for years, and last fall their homecoming court was introduced during the UT football game for the first time.
“It’s a little more fully integrated, and the advisers at TECHS are very knowledgeable about what’s here and how it works because all of their students are taking classes at UT,” said John Barrett, UT vice provost for faculty relations, accreditation, assessment and program review.
The opportunity for these students is possible because of a memorandum of understanding between Toledo Public Schools and UT on behalf of TECHS. It was renewed in July for five more years with minor adjustments to keep costs down for the high school and encourage enrollment growth.
“We’re trying to make the relationship between Toledo Public Schools and the University closer in order to build and grow this program,” Barrett said.
About 90 percent of TECHS graduates continue on to pursue their college degrees at UT.
“The hardest time for a college student is that first semester, particularly those first few weeks when you’re lost,” Barrett said. “These students don’t have any of that.”
According to Dr. Robin Wheatley, the principal of TECHS, to attend the school, students and parents must attend an informational meeting, apply, test, interview and attend orientation. Students are selected based on behavior, attendance, standardized test scores and grades.
“It’s an agreement that will provide incentives for the Toledo Public School district to grow the school,” Barrett said. “It also is going to make it more financially sustainable for the district.”
According to Lettman, TECHS continuously achieves excellent ratings on the state report card and has received many other recognitions and awards for excellence. It is among the top rated high schools in the state and by some measures the nation.