Launched in the 2014-2015 academic year, Irondale High School of Mounds View Public Schools became the first school in the Minnesota to offer a comprehensive early college high school program that allows students the opportunity to earn a two-year associate degree for free while still enrolled in high school.
Although many high schools around the nation offer concurrent college enrollment programs, including Irondale High School and Mounds View High School, those programs traditionally serve most effectively the highest-achieving students in the top third of their class. And through those programs, earning an associate degree by high school graduation isn’t a given.
Irondale’s new Early College program will target Irondale students who are in the middle of their class (30th to 70th percentile). These students at times have not received the preparation necessary to succeed in post-secondary programs, and they often may be the first in their family to attend college.
At the same time, the Early College program will add the courses necessary for students in Advanced Placement and College in the Schools programs to earn an associate degree. With the Early College program, post-secondary success will become the rule for all students and the opportunity to earn an associate degree will become a reality for many more students than before.