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Mission to open early college tech school in fall

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Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 10:05 pm

MISSION — Beginning this fall, Mission high school students will have three ways to start a technical career early.

The Texas Education Agency has sanctioned the opening of an early college technology high school as part of Mission CISD, according to a news release from the district. Ricardo Lopez, superintendent of Mission CISD, was energized about the news.

 “Oh man, we’re excited about it,” he said. “It’s one of the few of its kind in the state of Texas.”

The authorization to open the new school comes with a $305,000 grant, according to the release.

The school will be called Mission Early College Career Tech, Lopez said. One hundred students will start the program in August.

Qualifying prerequisite exams will not be applicable to aspiring students, but participants must be “enrolled in a Mission school by their eighth grade year,” he said.

 “We expect a big influx of people coming in,” Lopez said.

Students will have the option of three different tracks, Lopez said: diesel, welding, and manufacturing.

 “We chose those three areas because those are going to be three of the hottest jobs now available, not only in the state of Texas, but in the nation,” Lopez said.

The program is a partnership with South Texas College. Graduates from the program set to be housed at Mission High School — “it’s going to be a school within a school,” Lopez said — will have three documents by age 18: a certificate and an associate’s degree from STC, as well as a high school diploma from either Veterans or Mission High.

 “From my understanding, it’s the first in the Valley of its kind to start this early. Everybody has some sort of career tech, but not an early college where the kids start at ninth grade,” Lopez said. “That’s going to be the difference.”               

Mission High School Principal Edilberto Flores said that training instructors and recruiting students for the new program has begun. He said that the program’s instruction will lend hands-on relevance to classroom subjects.

In addition to providing students with more options, he said the tech program would stimulate “not only a college-going atmosphere, but an atmosphere of higher expectations.”

 “The interest is going to be high,” Flores said. “I can see the success being high.”

dsantella@themonitor.com

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