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The Harlandale STEM Early College High School, which opened in August 2014, was initiated a year and a half ago by a vision from the Harlandale Board and the Superintendent. Wonderful partnerships have been created between Harlandale ISD, Alamo Colleges (specifically Palo Alto College) and the University of Texas A&M San Antonio. The intent of the STEM Early College High School, is to provide students an education focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and provide them also with an opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours with the ultimate outcome of earning an Associate's Degree from Palo Alto College while in high school!
Any current 8th grade student, about to enter high school, can apply to the STEM Early College High School and all students would benefit greatly from participating in such a school; but the true intent of our school is to enroll the "middle" student, the student that would probably not attend college were it not for that extra "push" and guidance that would get them there. Enrollment is open to only current 8th grade students who will enter high school for the first time next year in August. Students selected for participating will be required to attend a two-week summer program that will provide all of the tools necessary for success in college.
Currently, there are only six STEM Early College High Schools in Texas and Harlandale's STEM Early College High School will be the first STEM Early College High School in a large metropolitan area (San Antonio). The cities of Dallas and Houston do not currently have a STEM Early College High School.
This past year, the Design Team (a team made up of Harlandale Board Members, personnel and administrators and partnering individuals from Alamo Community College, worked hard to ensure that the guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency for STEM Early College High Schools were adhered to and followed in the planning stages of the school. The facilities and curriculum has been prepared in conjunction with assistance from the Alamo Colleges.
Part of the planning involves constructing a new, state of the art building to house the STEM Early College High School. The building will consist of a two-story facility located at Memorial Stadium, the District's football and sports complex, located at 4002 Roosevelt Ave. The building cost is estimated at $12,000,000.
The school opened August of 2014, with 130 ninth grade students. Because the new building is set to be completed until the summer of 2015, the school will began at a temporary location until the building is completed. The STEM Early College High School is temporarily located at the Frank Tejeda Academy (12121 SE Loop 410) and will be housed there until the last day of school of the 2014-2015 school year.
Transportation is provided to students from the two comprehensive high schools, McCollum and Harlandale High School, in the morning to the STEM Early College High School; from the STEM Early College High School to Palo Alto College and back during the day for classes; and in the afternoon when school ends from STEM Early College High School to the original morning pick up location. Students that qualify for transportation will have this option available.
The STEM Early College High School does not have competitive sports available for students at the school; however, students may participate in sports offered (at the school they would be attending had they not enrolled in the STEM Early College High School) after school and with the understanding that the parents would provide the personalized transportation to those after school practices.
Students enrolled in the STEM Early College High School have the opportunity to participate in school clubs and events similar to those found in the traditional high school and some geared more towards enhancing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) content areas.