New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Deron Fort
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

Expanding early college education

School: Early College and Career Options (ECCO) High School
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: Eugene, OR
Operator: Eugene 4J School District
Operator Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 200
Students at Capacity: 500

HALLMARK FEATURE: Early college high school partnership; Higher education partnership

The Expanding Early College Education in Lane County (ExCEL) project plans to open a dynamic, innovative school in the heart of Lane Community College's 300 acre campus, located in the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Oregon. Initially, the Lane County Early College High School (LCECHS) will serve Eugene 4J students, most of whom are at high-risk of failure in their traditional high school; future expansion will include regional districts. The ExCEL project is a unique, strong collaboration between industry, higher education, and school districts, ensuring a breadth and depth of support not found in any one single entity. The early college partnership is a complete integration of high school and college, which includes a physical presence on the Lane Community College’s campus, collaboration between high school and college staff, high school and college courses to meet graduation requirements, access to the college’s student services, and a focus on at-risk student populations. As an example of the integration, instructors in Advanced Technology courses will collaborate with high school math teachers to align learning outcomes and contextualize curriculum.

ExCEL serves 11-12th graders plus fifth year seniors in high school and college coursework. In a blended learning environment, students will learn through direct instruction from teacher-advisors as well as proficiency-based online curriculum. ExCEL also plans to develop applied learning opportunities that embed and contextualize core math and literacy content within career-technical courses. As students near graduation, both teacher-advisors in the high school and Early College Advisors at the college will help them navigate next steps—whether that is a continuation at Lane, another community college, or a four-year institution.

The model is scalable to the county level and replicable in other areas of the country due to its sustainable design.

Photo credit: Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0