The Riley Early College High School sophomore said she’s always loved math. And now, she’s exploring how it dovetails with accounting.
With one credit under her belt now, Cedrianna said she’s looking forward to graduating from high school with as many college credits as she can get.
Potentially, she can earn about a year and a half’s worth of credits from Ivy Tech State College while she’s simultaneously earning her high school diploma.
But not every student in Riley Early College, which is located at the old Studebaker School, has been as suc-cessful as Cedrianna has been so far.
In fact, of the 64 inaugural freshmen in the program when it began three years ago, just 13 are eligible to take college classes on campus this fall at Ivy Tech.
The remainder have not passed the required college entrance exam, withdrawn, been expelled or failed the prerequisite classes, said South Bend Community School Corp. Superintendent Carole Schmidt.
Recent enrollment figures show 181 students, freshmen through juniors, attend the program that was designed to accommodate 100 freshmen its first year and to add another 100 freshmen each year until ninth-through 12th-graders are served.
As the corporation searches for ways to compensate for a more than $10 million budget shortfall between now and the end of next year, Early College has made its way onto the list of potential cuts.
Not including the students’ tuition at Ivy Tech, a cost the school district picks up, elimination of the program would save the school corporation more than $1 million in 2013 alone, Schmidt said.
Asked if she’d deem Early College a success, the superintendent said it depends on which “lens” one uses.
From a purely budgetary one, she said, likely the answer would be no.
But if you consider the doors that could be opened for the 13 students who will spend their senior year on campus at Ivy Tech next school year taking English composition and economics and government and politics, among other classes, the answer would be yes.
The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis leads the statewide Early College network. The center hosts events and site visits to promote Early College and other unique high school programs, including the New Tech concept.
The organization has offered to evaluate the state’s Early College Programs and then assign each a “status” based upon how well it meets core principles.
That process, however, has been inconsistent recently.
Because of staff turnover at the center, Riley Early College, in its third year of operation now, has never been evaluated.
Janet Boyle, assistant director of the center, said she’s in the process of revamping the endorsement — or evaluation — process of Early College high schools.