Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

Partnership Brings Early College High School to Dove Science Academy Students

(March 10, 2017, Oklahoma City, OK) – This summer, 20 eleventh-grade students from Oklahoma City’s Dove Science Academy (Dove) will embark on a life-changing educational experience. Through a new partnership with Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC), these top-performing students will participate for little or no cost in Oklahoma’s only early college high school initiative providing a path to earn a high school diploma and complete a two-year associate degree in the time it takes to graduate from high school.


Dove is a high-performing K-12 public charter school with locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that focus on math, science, engineering, and computer technologies to provide opportunities for underserved, low income, minority communities. A number of Dove graduates attend OSU-OKC after completing high school.


OSU-OKC President and Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley said the new dual-enrollment program, titled EXCELerate Dove, is a natural progression in a longstanding partnership with Dove, and can serve as a model for similar agreements with other high schools in Oklahoma.


“Providing high-performing, highly motivated students the ability to complete two years of college before graduating from high school is not only a financial win for the students and their families, but it also propels them into a career path,” Shirley said. “It is also a win for Oklahoma as it allows students to more rapidly achieve their academic dreams and enter the workforce.”


OSU-OKC is covering tuition and books to kick off the inaugural semester this summer and expects future expenses will be funded through a combination of grants, donations and waivers. OSU-OKC and Dove plan to raise the money necessary to expand the program beyond the original 20 students.


“Our job is to create opportunities for these students and this is another opportunity,” said Umit Alp, Dove superintendent. “Dove is excited to work with OSU-OKC to provide a guided track for our students who are motivated to go to college, but do not have the necessary financial resources available to them.”


The early college high school students will attend college classes at Dove Academy taught by a combination of OSU-OKC instructors and Dove teachers who meet the Higher Learning Commission faculty requirements. Coursework will not only help meet the general educational requirement for many degrees at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities, but will also have a STEM-centric curriculum including courses in computer technology, science and higher-level mathematics.


“By providing high-quality, transferable, STEM-rich curriculum, we are enhancing opportunities for these students and helping them prepare for the jobs of the future,” Shirley said.


Students in the program must maintain a 2.0 overall grade point average in their college coursework to graduate with an Associate in Science degree from OSU-OKC, a regionally accredited and nationally recognized university.


Alp said the benefit of early college high school is immense and extends beyond academic achievement for Dove students. “They will have an easier transition to a four-year university because they will have experience in college-level work and the expectations that come with it,” he said.


According to the National Early College High School Initiative, there are more than 280 early college high schools in the U.S. serving more than 80,000 students in 32 states.


“At OSU-OKC, we plan to lead the way showing this can be a successful program anywhere in the state,” Shirley said. “We have the foundation in place – quality faculty, both on our campus and at Dove, and motivated, amazing students who are dedicated to succeeding. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

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