Windward Community College was granted $2.1 million to expand its successful Early College High School (ECHS) program to help more Windward Oʻahu students earn college credits while still in high school.
The five-year grant was awarded through a partnership between the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and Kamehameha Schools to provide approximately 1,309 additional college credits with a priority going towards first-generation college attendees and low-income high school students.
“Windward Community College is honored by the community minded spirit of Castle Foundation in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools to provide critical value added for the college’s Early College High School offerings in Oʻahu’s Koʻolaupoko and Koʻolauloa Districts,” said Chancellor Douglas Dykstra. “Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ardis Eschenberg identified the vision and enlisted the generous support of our funders whose commitment is expected to boost the college credit earned by high school students by 90 percent over the span of the program’s life.”
The ECHS program offers college-level courses at Windward Oʻahu high schools taught by Windward CC faculty utilizing the same outcomes, texts, assignments and assessments as traditional college campus offerings. Windward is one of nine University of Hawaiʻi campuses that partner with Hawaiʻi high schools across the state in dual credit programs.
“Like Kamehameha Schools, we believe that far more high school students can attain a college degree and then secure a living-wage job for their families when given the chance,” said Terry George, president and CEO of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “We are committing our resources to this task for a generation.”
“Partnering with the state’s largest educational institutions and the Castle Foundation allows all of us to leverage our resources to impact the educational well-being of this whole region,” said Jamee Mahealani Miller, Kamehameha Schools regional director for Koʻolau and Waialua, Oʻahu. “This collective effort to prepare Koʻolau’s future leaders is a powerful example of what can happen when we collaborate to achieve shared visions and similar goals.”
The funding will help to increase both the number of Windward Oʻahu public high school students who complete a college certificate or degree concurrently with the completion of their high school diploma, and increase the rate at which students enroll and complete a two- or four-year degree.