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Benchmark 2: Partnerships

Purpose of Partnerships

The Early College High School (ECHS) must have a current, signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) or interlocal agreement (ILA) with each Institution of Higher Education (IHE) that outlines key issues related to the planning, implementation, and sustainability of the ECHS program. Stakeholders shall review the MOU or ILA annually. The agreement shall include the components described in the design elements below. 

Design Elements

  1. Goal of Higher Education Partnerships
    The MOU or ILA shall include the goal of the ECHS and IHE partnership and a description of how the goals of the dual credit program align to the Texas Statewide Dual Credit Goals
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
    The MOU or ILA shall include the respective roles and responsibilities for the campus/LEA and IHE in providing for and ensuring the quality and instructional rigor of the dual credit program.
  3. Funding
    The MOU or ILA shall identify how costs will be shared, including for the following:
    1. Dual credit courses offered through the program

    2. Instructional materials to be used and textbook adoption

    3. Transportation costs and fees

    4. Eligibility of ECHS students for financial assistance from the IHE(s), specifically, waivers for tuition and fees

  4. Academic Plan
    The MOU or ILA shall articulate the academic plan, including the following:

    1. Courses of study that enable a student to combine high school courses and college-level courses with the goal of earning an associate degree or up to 60 semester credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree 

    2. Curriculum alignment for each degree plan with a course equivalency crosswalk equating high school courses with college courses and the number of college credits that may be earned for each course completed through the dual credit program

    3. Transferable and applicable college credits earned during high school 

    The MOU or ILA shall include components that enhance transcription of credit, including the following:
  5. Transcription of Credit
    1. Assurances that the IHE will transcribe college credit earned through dual credit in the same semester that credit is earned 

    2. Assurances that the ECHS will adhere to the grading periods and policies of the IHE for dual credit and college courses, including academic probation

  6. Course Delivery and Scheduling
    The MOU or ILA shall articulate course delivery and scheduling including the following:

    1. The instructional calendar, including location of each course that will be offered

    2. Assurances that ECHS students are treated as dual credit students until graduation from the ECHS program. As such, they may take dual credit courses during the fall, spring, and summer sessions to meet the goals of the ECHS program

  7. Staffing Plan
    The MOU or ILA shall include a staffing plan for the ECHS, including the following:

    1. Teacher qualification processes, instructor availability, and course offerings

    2. Joint professional development for ECHS faculty and college and counselors/advisors (including both district and IHE faculty/staff)

  8. Instructional Materials and Textbooks
    The MOU or ILA shall articulate instructional materials and textbook policies, including the following:

    1. The duration for which textbooks can be used

    2. Instructional materials and textbook costs and fees

  9. Access to Higher Education Resources
    The MOU or ILA shall articulate that students will be granted access to higher education resources, including the following: 

    1. ECHS students’ access to the IHE facilities, services and resources

    2. Disability services available to students in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for college courses for dual credit

  10. Transportation
    The MOU or ILA shall address transportation, including the following:  

    1. Transportation policies, including the ECHS and IHE respective roles and responsibilities related to transportation

    2. Transportation costs and fees funding

  11. Collaborative Outreach Efforts
    The MOU or ILA shall outline the commitment that the ECHS and IHE will implement purposeful and collaborative outreach efforts to inform all students and parents of the benefits and costs of dual credit, including enrollment and fee policies.

  12. Student Participation
    The MOU or ILA shall articulate student participation, including the following:

    1. Policy on minimum class size per dual credit course

    2. Student enrollment policies, including student eligibility for enrollment and pre-requisite policies 

    3. Student attendance policies 

    4. Code of conduct policies 

    5. Administration of statewide assessments of academic skills (TEC, Subchapter B, Chapter 39) 

    6. Provisions for discontinuing ECHS operation and ensuring students previously enrolled will have the opportunity to complete their course of study

  13. Academic Supports
    The MOU or ILA shall identify how the ECHS and the IHE will provide academic supports including the following:

    1. Academic and college readiness advising with access to student support services to bridge students successfully into college course completion

    2. Advising services for students on the transferability and applicability to baccalaureate degree plans for all college credit offered and earned

    3. Policies related to student intervention

  14. Data Sharing
    The MOU or ILA shall include a data sharing agreement that outlines provisions for student data to be provided by the college to the high school and enables collaborative data sharing on a regular basis to promote student support interventions during the semester. The MOU and ILA shall also include the following: 

    1. Teacher data such as qualifications

    2. Student-level data such as credit hours taken and earned, GPA, student academic progress, college, and career readiness metrics (e.g., SAT/ACT), and formative regularly updated or real-time data (e.g., course enrollment/ dropout, TSIA scores,
      6-/9-week or midterm grades, attendance for students at the high school) 

    3. Policies for expanding access to student data, such as granting ECHS teachers of record and campus administrators full instructor access

  15. ECHS program Data Analysis
    The MOU or ILA shall identify the CCRSM program data analysis that the ECHS will complete, including but not limited to:

    1. Dual credit program outcomes that assist high school students in the successful transition to and acceleration through postsecondary education

    2. The quality and rigor of dual credit courses will be sufficient to ensure student success in subsequent courses



Goal of Higher Education 


  • Final, signed, and executed MOU/ILA or similar agreement 

    • MOU/ILA must be reviewed annually with the goal of improving programmatic supports and services for students and alignment to the Texas Statewide Dual Credit Goals