An Early College High School

Do you want your son or daughter to not only receive a high school diploma but also complete 25 or 30 college units while in high school? If so, Visalia Technical Early College High School (VTEC) might be for you!

VTEC is in its fourth year as a Visalia Unified charter school. It began as an innovative experiment to accelerate students toward college and career success. Since then, it has exceeded our expectations and is recognized by the California School Board Association as a “Golden Bell Award” winner.

What began as one sophomore class in a couple of portables on the COS Ag Farm has evolved into a highly successful technical and early college prep school that last year graduated its first senior class. For those seniors, many of whom started as “at-risk students,” consider their success:

VTEC had a 98% graduation rate

100% of those graduating did so with post-secondary credit

55% of those students accumulated 24 credits or more at COS, with the top student earning 49 credits (at $49 per unit that is a college savings of over $2,200!)

VTEC has developed a highly supportive environment for student academic success. The VTEC staff makes sure kids learn; and this has increased the pass rate for all classes, resulting in high attendance rates and a very high graduation rate. VTEC teachers just don’t accept unfinished work or failure – students are re-taught and supported until they are able to successfully learn the course work.

There are many unique things about VTEC. First of all, all students choose a “career pathway” and their course work is wrapped around that career. Next year, students will have the option of three career pathways: Veterinary Science, Food Science and Agricultural Technology. Students work on real projects and have opportunities to interact with professionals in their career field.

Additionally, we have pioneered and forged a strong partnership with College of the Sequoias and have created a strong and highly supportive industry advisory board. They represent a broad business spectrum from industry partners, the Carpenters Union, Visalia Chamber of Commerce, the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County.

Visalia Unified purchased and renovated the 35-acre property formerly used as the COS Ag Farm. It converted it into a state-of-the-art high school with a strong technology emphasis –

updated wireless access, a brand new computer lab loaded with career technical software, and 1:1 computer access in each of the classrooms. Also, each senior is issued his or her own iPad for use in both high school and college courses during the year.

If this sounds like a place for you, applications and information on fall enrollment are available by contacting Principal Victoria Porter at 622-3212 or [email protected].

Craig Wheaton, Ed.D., is superintendent of the Visalia Unified School District.

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