Inaugural Early College High School Conference highlights increased college-level preparation


The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu, together with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education, hosted the 2016 inaugural Early College High School Conference today.

UH West Oahu Associate Professor Kealani Cook teaches History 151 at Waianae High School.
UH West Oahu Associate Professor Kealani Cook teaches History 151 at Waianae High School.

Early college programs are an important way for students from across the state to get a head start on their college careers by getting college credit for courses taken while still in high school.

According to the College and Career Readiness Report (CCRI), released by Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, a growing number of Hawai‘i’s public high school students are taking college-level courses and earning dual credits – for both high school and college – before they graduate. Up to 10 percent of the Class of 2015 statewide earned college credits from the University of Hawai’i (UH) while attending high school, up four percentage points from the Class of 2013.

The increase in dual-credit participation and college-level preparation is a boost toward achieving Hawai‘i’s “55 by ‘25” education goal of 55 percent of working age adults holding a 2- or 4-year college degree by 2025.

​Education leaders from around the state, including First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz, Hawaii P-20 Executive Director Karen Lee and chancellors from University of Hawai‘i campuses across the state contributed to the national dialogue about early college–accelerated learning opportunities for high school students. Attendees also included about 100 students from Waianae, Nanakuli, Waipahu and Kapaa High Schools.

Research shows that participation in college-level coursework during high school can increase students’ exposure and aspirations for postsecondary success.  High school students who graduate with college credits are more likely to enroll, persist, and succeed in higher education.

The top five high schools with the highest percentage of students completing dual-credit for the Class of 2015 are:

  • Waipahu High School: 32% (from 13% in the Class of 2013)
  • Kailua High School: 18% (from 5% in the Class of 2013)​
  • Kaimuki High School: 16% (from 6% in the Class of 2013)
  • Farrington High School: 15% (from 3% in the Class of 2013)
  • Waianae High School: 15% (from 4% in the Class of 2013)

“The momentum around the dual credit and early college initiatives is incredible, and the increase in dual credit completion by high school students is evidence of the strong partnership between the HIDOE and UH,” said Karen Lee, Executive Director of Hawai’i P-20 Partnerships for Education, an organization that works on programs and policy to strengthen the pipeline from early childhood through postsecondary education. “We are starting to see the results of this program in the college enrollment rates and preparation for college-level courses by our students who participated, and this moves us closer to our sta tewide goal of “55 by ’25.”

More on the Early College High School Conference

The inaugural Early College High School Conference was sponsored by Holomua GEAR UP on the Leeward Coast and the U.S. Department of Education Title III Pueo Scholars Grant. Holomua GEAR UP on the Leeward Coast seeks to increase college attendance and success, and raise the expectations of low-income students from the economically challenged Leeward Coast. The U.S. Department of Education Title III Pueo Scholars Grant promotes post-secondary education in students from the indigent areas of the Leeward Coast, many of whom are or will be the first in their families to attend college. The grant supports a range of programs designed to foster student academic success.



6 shots, school sign, students in Early College class at Waianae High School

7 shots from Early College Conference at UH West O‘ahu, 2 of main session and 5 of students.


Karen Lee, Executive Director, Hawai‘i P-20 (:13)

“The impact of the program has really been huge.  Weʻve been super surprised and pleased that so many high schools want to offer college credits for their high school students.”

Jeffrey Jones, Jr., student, Waianae High School (:07)

“Early college. I think itʻs a really good opportunity for both me and my classmates.  It gives us a feel for what we are going to get when we become college students.”

Czarina Galario, student, Waipahu High School (:11)

“Waipahu High School is offering it to us for free. I know other schools donʻt have it so might as well take advantage of it, because itʻs dual credits for high school and for college.”

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