by Tiffany King
On Tuesday, August 23, five students from the Booker T. Washington Early College High School, along with 1,000 CAU freshmen, took the Clark Atlanta University oath during the university’s induction ceremony. The Washington students, Kaia Bailey, Angelina Barden, Antonio Rayton, Jamesia Tucker and Alexis White—all juniors—are the first to enroll at CAU through the Early College Partnership program. The university’s Community Educational Network Outreach Initiative designed the program with the goal of supporting college bound students at neighboring high schools, and helping them pursue a post-secondary education.
The high school students will have the opportunity to enroll in two core courses at CAU per semester, with a chance to accumulate 24 credit hours to apply to a college program by their high school graduation. Students will receive high school credit and college credit simultaneously while attending college classes on the campus. This gives students an alternative to the traditional high school day structure, and an opportunity to begin their post-secondary education early.
Booker T. Washington Early College principal, Dr. Vanessa Nason, said, “This partnership between Clark Atlanta University and the Booker T. Washington Early College high school is an exceptional endeavor. Affording students the opportunity to attend a prestigious, nationally known university while still in high school will have a profound impact on the lives of these first-generation college-goers for years to come.”
Early college high schools are small schools created to allow high school students to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree. Early college high schools help improve graduation rates and better prepare students for entry into high-skill careers by changing the structure of the high school years and reducing the number of years necessary to obtain a college degree. There are currently two early college high schools in APS—Carver Early College, and Washington Early College. Both schools have partnerships with Georgia State University, which also allows students to participate in the dual enrollment program.