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Mission Early College High School Earns State Recognition

One of Santa Clara’s high schools has earned recognition from the State Superintendent. Mission Early College High School (MECHS) was recently among nine schools statewide to receive the California Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award.

“These programs are a beacon of excellence and equitable opportunity in California’s public schools. Dual enrollment programs provide a unique option for public high school students who seek to accelerate their achievement, launch their careers, and access a high-quality free college education even before they walk the high school graduation stage,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond in a news release.

Dual enrollment schools allow students to take community college courses while also completing their high school diploma. According to the State Department of Education’s website, awardees have to prove “strong, collaborative relationships among the high school, the college, families, community members, and industry partners.”


Schools must also “demonstrate and provide evidence of equity, integration of college and district plans and frameworks, dual credit for high school graduation, outcome data, pathways, and student supports.”

MECHS works closely with Mission College, the students and their families. The program is the only one in the Bay Area, including Santa Clara, Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Solano counties, to receive the award.

“It is an honor being recognized as an Exemplary Dual Enrollment school. Many times, the path we (MECHS) have to take, and the way we approach what we do and how we do it, feels so divergent from that of the traditional high schools,” said MECHS Principal Viola Smith. “It is extremely gratifying and validating to know that as a college immersion program, we are on the right path. I am very proud of the work our team has done.”

The Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees celebrated the honor at the March 14 meeting.

“Only nine schools statewide were selected for this honor, so we’re very proud of Mission Early College High School,” said Santa Clara Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Waddell at the meeting.


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