Early College High School Blueprint

  • Early College High Schools (ECHS) are open-enrollment programs that allow students least likely to attend college or who wish to accelerate completion of high school, to combine high school courses and college-level courses while participating in rigorous and accelerated instruction. 

    • The Blueprint identifies five benchmarks which serve as the foundational elements of the model and describes essential design elements for each benchmark.
    • The Blueprint outlines the required design element artifacts to be published publicly and made available to TEA upon request.
    • The Blueprint defines outcomes-based measures (OBMs) for required data indicators related to access, achievement, and attainment.

    ECHS programs are required to adopt the design elements in each benchmark and meet OBMs to receive the Texas Education Agency (TEA) ECHS designation.


    Most Up To Date Blueprint
     Benchmark 1: School Design  Benchmark 2: Partnerships  Benchmark 3: Target Population  Benchmark 4: Academic Infrastructure  Benchmark 5: Student Supports  



  • All Early College High School (ECHS) artifacts shall be published on the ECHS’s website and made available to TEA upon request. The artifacts shall be maintained in accordance with the local records retention policy. Not all Benchmark design elements require a published artifact.


    Benchmark 1: School Design
    1.6 Leadership Team Strategic Priorities
    • ECHS/IHE leadership meeting agendas
    • School board and board of regents’ presentations
    • Document(s) outlining the strategic priorities for the current academic year and/or long-term priorities of the ECHS partnership
    1.7 Leadership Team Key Roles
    • Description of each member and role in leadership team
    1.8 ECHS Staff
    • ECHS leader/IHE liaison meeting agendas and relevant materials
    1.9 ECHS Staff Professional Development
    • Mentor/induction program plans
    • Annual training or professional development plan for ECHS and IHE faculty
    Benchmark 2: Partnerships
    2.1 Goal of Higher Education Partnerships
    • Final, signed, and executed MOU/ILA or similar agreement
      • MOU/ILA must be reviewed annually with the goal of improving programmatic supports and services for students and alignment to the Texas Statewide Dual Credit Goals
    Benchmark 3: Target Population
    3.2 Documenting Enrollment Procedures
    • Written admission policy, and enrollment application
    • Written recruitment plan, including a timeline of recruitment and enrollment events, and recruitment materials for distribution at feeder middle schools and other appropriate locations in the community
    3.3 Stakeholder Engagement
    • Brochures and marketing in Spanish, English, and/or other relevant language(s)
    • Written communication plan for targeting identified audiences (e.g., parents, community members, school boards, higher education personnel, etc.) 
    3.4 Lottery System 
    • Written lottery procedures (district-level or campus-level)
    Benchmark 4: Academic Infrastructure
    4.3 Course Sequence
    • Crosswalk aligning high school and college courses, grades 9 through 12, which enables a student to earn an associate degree or up to 60 college credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree
    • Master schedules
    4.7 College Readiness
    • Calendar of TSIA scheduled test administration dates, sign-up process, and intervention expectations
    • Aggregate reports of TSIA exam performance
    • Testing calendar and schedule for SAT, ACT, or other college readiness assessments
    Benchmark 5: Student Supports
    5.1 Bridge Programs 
    • Bridge program curriculum and schedule
    5.2 Advising
    • Schedule of advising events
    5.3 Student Intervention
    • Tutoring Schedues
    5.4 Classroom Supports
    • Advisory/study skills curriculum material
    5.6 Enrichment Opportunities
    • Calendar of enrichment events and family outreach events