SARANAC LAKE - Early college high schools blend high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program to provide a path to college to students who might not otherwise be successful on that path.
National Early College High School Week celebrates the 247 early high school programs across the country, with approximately 23 in New York state.
The early college high school program was started in New York state by a Gates Foundation grant - and the program has been so successful that New York State has taken over funding. All of the New York state programs are urban with the exception of North County Community College's Adirondack Early College Program.
Students from local school districts take part in National Early College High School Week at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake.
"The Early College High School program is designed to start students on the path to college during middle school who might not otherwise get there. Students in the ADKECHS will take NCCC college courses during their junior and senior year so they get an early start on college," according to Joe Pete Wilson, the ADKECHS Coordinator at NCCC.
Last week, 33 students from Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake high schools that comprise the Adirondack Early College High School program spent part of the day at NCCC and at Adirondack Medical Center learning about college and careers in the health care field.
"The visit to AMC and NCCC was an eye-opening experience for many of our students," Roger Catania, LPHS guidance counselor, said. "Even though most are only 14 or 15 and still a few years away from making college or career decisions, the students learned of the many exciting career avenues open to them in the health care field, and they also learned that a college education can open the door to these and many other future choices. Hopefully, knowing what the future has to offer inspires them to work hard in school today, and helps them to understand the connection between what they learn in their classes today and the decisions they will make about their lives in the years to come."