Odessa College approves move of Falcon ECHS
Falcon Early College High School entered a new era Thursday night when the Odessa College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the school’s move from the campus of UT Permian Basin to the OC campus starting in August. Odessa College administrators presented a transition plan to the OC board and a full room of Falcon ECHS parents and students.
The plan identified the buildings being renovated to hold Falcon ECHS classrooms and offices, outlined course offerings and degrees that will be available to students, pointed out cafeteria and social spaces, parking and drop-off areas, and announced the dates for student orientation sessions.
“I am so proud to stand with our educational partners,” said OC President Dr. Gregory Williams. “As I have said on a number of occasions now, we are all part of this educational ecosystem here in Ector County and we serve these students. We want to give them our all.”
Falcon ECHS opened in August 2015 at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The university’s growth is limiting building space and resources, and making it harder to accommodate the early college high school as it adds additional students each year. While the school will be changing locations, UTPB President Dr. Sandra Woodley declared the university will stay committed to the program. “We’re gonna be in there making sure their transition is smooth,” she said. “Our faculty will be teaching some of the courses, as well. We are going to significantly ramp up our ability to provide a transfer through scholarships.”
Dr. Woodley and Dr. Williams stated the partnership outcome remains the same: ECISD students can enter an early college high school, earn up to 60 hours of college credit by the time they graduate from high school, and seamlessly transfer from OC to UTPB if they so choose. An affordable, high-quality way for students to get education here in the Permian Basin.
ECISD Superintendent of Schools Tom Crowe said all three educational institutions want to ensure kids have opportunities to earn college credit. “Through the collaboration of OC, UTPB, and ECISD the education landscape has changed in Ector County. Family dynamics are being changed by education.”
Mr. Crowe announced that with the move, the district will change the organizational structure of the early college high school programs. He said Gerardo Ramirez, who was the principal at New Tech Odessa, will become the ECISD Director of Early College High Schools and will oversee both Falcon and OCTECHS. A dean of students will be hired by each to run the day-to-day operations of the schools, which will keep their individual charters and identities.
OC is already home to ECISD’s Odessa Career & Technical Early College High School (OCTECHS). In 2015, OCTECHS was one of only four new ECHS campuses with a career and technical education focus. Falcon also opened in 2015, in the traditional early college model centered on the associate of arts or associate of science degrees that build for a transfer to a university.