Today when Lincoln Preparatory School [LPS] seniors march across the stage to receive their high school diplomas, thirteen of them will have already received their first college degree. These students are part of the Lincoln Preparatory School Early College Academy [ECA], and on Wednesday, May 10th they received their Associate of General Studies Degrees from Southern University at Shreveport (SUSLA).
The Lincoln Prep ECA was created in the Fall of 2019 by a memorandum signed by Lincoln Prep Executive Director, Gordan Ford and former SUSLA Chancellor, Dr. Rodney Ellis. The MOU, signed October 28, 2019, formalized the relationship between the two schools, providing additional dual enrollment opportunities for LPS students and paving the way for this unique associate degree.
The Lincoln Preparatory School Early College Academy is different from other early college and dual enrollment programs in many ways:
- First, students may enroll in the program regardless of ACT scores. Even prior to relaxation of ACT rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lincoln Prep provided opportunities for interested students to take college developmental courses to qualify for the program, creating a model for greater equity in dual enrollment.
- Also, all courses college are taught on the high school campus. Most SUSLA courses are taught via a unique co-teaching model, where students are assigned a university instructor and a high school teacher for each class. The students attend the high school class and submit assignments via SUSLA’s online platform. The university and high school teachers collaborate to ensure the success of students. Using this co-teaching model, neither the university instructor nor the high school teacher is required to have any additional training or certifications.
- There is no charge to students or their families for participating in the program.
“We deliberately designed the Early College program so that it could be replicated at any high school in the state, allowing students in rural and underserved areas the opportunity to take dual enrollment classes, regardless of their proximity to a college campus,” said Gordan Ford, Executive Director at Lincoln Prep “Additionally, and importantly, Lincoln Prep pays all the costs of the program. Over 90% of our students come from economically disadvantaged homes. We did not want cost to be a barrier for our students, so we pay for everything. Lincoln Prep pays all tuition and fees, all books and other courseware. We also paid their SUSLA graduation fees, paid for their graduation portraits and purchased their graduation regalia.”
“Last night, Southern University at Shreveport made history graduating 59 Early College High School Students as part of its 342 Spring 2023 Graduating Class,” said Dr. Vladimir Alexander Appeaning, Interim Chancellor, Southern University at Shreveport. “We are extremely proud of the early college graduates and look forward to expanding our partnership with Lincoln Preparatory School and High Schools in Northwest Louisiana in the coming years.”
The Lincoln Prep commencement exercises will be held Monday, May 15, 2023 at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. The commencement speaker is Dr. Gregory Ford, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern University in Shreveport. Dr. Ford is a 1989 graduate of Grambling High School and is currently a finalist for Chancellor of LSU at Shreveport. The thirteen ECA graduates are one-third of the graduating Class of 2023. Additionally, 23 juniors have completed their first year of college coursework and are expected to receive their degrees at the end of the 2023-24 school year.
“Lincoln Prep is all about providing opportunities for our students,” said Ford. “Lincoln Prep consistently has a higher percentage of our graduates earning post-secondary credentials and a higher percentage of graduates enrolling in college than any school district in our region, despite having lower average ACT scores than many of those districts.”
According to Louisiana School Finder, 92% of Lincoln Prep seniors completed college-level coursework or attained proficiency with an industry-valued skill set recognized by the Workforce Investment Council (WIC) and 73% of Lincoln Prep seniors enrolled in college by the 1st fall semester after graduating from high school. In each category, Lincoln Prep ranks first in the Northeast Louisiana region.