College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor

How We Can Improve College-Completion Rates

May 10, 2021 1 min read

To the Editor:

The article “This Is Not a Good Time to Fall Off the College Track. Students Are Doing It Anyway” (March 8, 2021) shows the inadequacies of the many add-on programs in schools designed to increase minority and low-income students’ applications for college but fail to organize for college readiness at their core.

There is an alternative to these add-on programs: early- and middle-college high schools. These schools have automatic college acceptance and FAFSA completion as part of their process when students begin their college courses. These processes are guided by early- and middle-college counselors and teachers who interact with students daily.

Early- and middle-college high schools place college readiness at the center of their mission and integrate multiple college-going supports into students’ experiences throughout their four years. This includes having students take classes for college credit while in high school to help lead them to a degree or credential with no extra cost. These schools commit to serving students from low-income families and underrepresented backgrounds in higher education.

As the founding principal of one such high school in Buffalo, N.Y., I can report a 96 percent high school graduation rate for the class of 2020. The graduating students earn an average of 45 college credits at their partner colleges. The pandemic did not divert them from their academic course or from completing the necessary college applications and financial-aid forms. The design principles of the early- and middle-college model protect the most vulnerable students from disruptions such as the current pandemic. It would be wise for more districts to adopt this model for their students.

Susan M. Doyle
Founding Principal
Middle Early College High School
Buffalo, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 2021 edition of Education Week as How We Can Improve College-Completion Rates


Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion There’s Insurance for Homes or Cars—Why Not College Degrees?
Rick Hess talks with Wade Eyerly, the CEO of Degree Insurance, about the company's plan to make investing in a college degree less risky.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Fewer Students in Class of 2020 Went Straight to College
First-year college enrollment dropped steeply last year, a study finds, and the declines were sharpest among poorer students.
6 min read
Image shows University Application Acceptance Notification Letter with ACCEPTED Stamp
College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor Are Students Ready for Post-Pandemic Reality?
Schools must make improving students' essential skills a priority for college and career success, says the CEO and president of CAE.
1 min read