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Burges High School could become an early college high school

By Stephanie Valle
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:29:07 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 07:00:14 PM CST

Reporter: Stephanie Valle

EL PASO, Texas -

Burges High School may be undergoing some big changes very soon.
Administrators are submitting an application to the Texas Education Agency to transition to an early college high school.

ABC-7 met exclusively with Burges principal Dr. Randall Woods Thursday afternoon to talk about the motivation behind the change.

"What it would do is allow our students to get up to an associate college degree before they leave Burges High School," said Woods.
Woods cited data from 2011 that showed 67-percent of Burges graduates pursued higher education.

He thinks the college exposure at the high school level could boost those numbers.
"This is really targeting that group that has the doubts, maybe doesn't believe. And so really opening the doors and changing lives," Woods said.

Changing lives -- but not changing the actual school building.

All of El Paso's early college high school campuses had to be built from the ground up. In this case, Burges itself would become an early college high school.

"It would be housed within the school," Woods explained. "There's not going to be a special area because it's meant to be comprehensive. And so that reduces some of the cost."

The work to prepare incoming students is already underway.

Administrators are currently working with the Burges feeder schools.

Woods said 8th graders will be tested to see how prepared they are for certain college level courses once they enter high school.

"We've set a goal that to some degree, for some of us, it's hard to imagine," said Woods, even likening it to President Kennedy's setting a goal to send a man to the moon during the space race in the 1960s.

"I don't know physically how this is all gonna happen. And that's kind of the exciting part."

But if it does happen -- it will happen quickly.

Burges must turn in the application to the TEA by November 22.

Woods estimates TEA will respond by the beginning of next year.

If the state approves the application, Burges would become a comprehensive early college high school by fall 2014.

It would be the first in El Paso and only the third in the state.


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