Socorro ISD board approves Trailblazers Early College

The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees and SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza approved the proposal to create another early college program for the 2017-2018 school year at the regular board meeting Oct. 18.

Trailblazers Early College, the district’s fourth early college program, will allow students the opportunity to earn an associate of arts degree or 60 college credit hours in a comprehensive high school setting. The school, which will operate at Americas High School, will welcome 125 students in its first cohort. Eighth-graders in the Americas feeder area may apply to the program.

“We are proud to announce that Team SISD will soon open its fourth early college program,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “With the support of our Board of Trustees and El Paso Community College, we continue to provide our students with a quality education, and endless opportunities through unique programs such as the Trailblazers Early College.”

Early college high schools are innovative programs that provide dual credit courses at no cost to students; offers rigorous instruction and accelerated courses; provides academic and social support services to help students succeed; increases college readiness; and reduces barriers to college access.

Inclusive of its early college high schools, SISD students earned 15,610 college credit hours saving families some $6 million in college tuition in 2015-2016 alone.

“As the proud principal of Americas High School, I’m elated to be selected as the next designated early college for SISD,” said Principal Patricia Cuevas. “It illustrates the foundation of our district, which is one of endless opportunities.”

Team SISD, in partnership with El Paso Community College, already offers the most early college high school programs in the region. Mission Early College High School was the first early college high school to open in the region. Socorro Early College became the district’s first campus-based program in 2015. In 2016, the district opened Rams Early College.

Each early college serves some 500 students, who are given the opportunity to graduate with an associate’s degree concurrent with their high school diploma.

“Our goal is for all Team SISD high schools to have an early college program,” said George Thomas, Career and Technical Education director. “Seven early college high school programs would make for 875 potential associate’s degree earners each year.”