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Several IPS are joining a new initiative designed to increase students’ participation in college-level classes

Arsenal Technical, Crispus Attucks, Herron, and Riverside high schools are now members of the state’s Urban College Acceleration Network (UCAN), a new partnership between urban Indiana schools with the mission of increasing students’ access to postsecondary courses through the Early College High School Program.

The project was announced Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

“We know that achievement gaps persist in reading, math, and educational attainment among Indiana’s racially and ethnically diverse, low-income, special education and English language learner students – gaps that were exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “I’m thrilled that through the UCAN partnership, many of our urban schools will come together to leverage their collective knowledge and experience to help close these gaps and expand pathway opportunities for every student to succeed.”

UCAN connects established urban Early College High Schools and urban schools that are seeking to become Early College High Schools. The model establishes the Early College High Schools as mentors for their partner schools, providing the partner schools with guidance and support as they work to accelerate their path toward becoming an Early College High School. Through UCAN, partner schools will have access to coaching and support for Early College coursework, along with educator professional development at no cost.

The Early College High School program, led by the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership and Learning (CELL), helps schools build a model that empowers students to earn postsecondary credits alongside their high school diploma through dual credit opportunities. CELL is providing professional development and operational support to UCAN schools.

This program will be supported with $4.1 million in funding through the third round of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.