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Early and Middle College High School FAQs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Early College High Schools and Middle College High Schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1. What restrictions apply to admission of K-12 students to summer session at a community college?

Answer: Under California Ed. Code § 48800(a), to enroll in a class at a community college, a student must be recommended by the principal of his or her school and approved by the governing board of the school district. Approval from the governing board of the community college district is also required. (Ed. Code § 76001(a).) The governing board of a community college district may restrict enrollment based on age, completion of specified grade level, and/or demonstrated eligibility for instruction. (Ed. Code § 76002(b).) Also, Ed. Code § 48800(d)(2) caps the number of students who can enroll in community college courses during the summer term by limiting the principal to recommending no more than 5 percent of the students from each grade level.
Note, that where certain conditions apply, a summer school student will not be included in the 5 percent limitation. (Ed. Code § 48800(d)(3)(4).) 

Question 2. Is there a standard rule for how many high school units a student may earn by completing a 3 semester unit community college course? Is a college course worth either 1.5 times, 2.0 times or 3.33 times a high school credit? If a high school student is concurrently enrolled in a college course and passes that course, how many school equivalent credits would that constitute?

Answer: Ed. Code § 76001(c) states that credit for courses completed by a special part-time or full-time student at the community college shall be at the level determined to be appropriate by school district and the community college district governing boards.

Formerly 5 CCR § 1630, required districts to award credits towards high school graduation at the rate of 31/3 (three and one-third) semester periods for each credit hour earned in college. However, 5 CCR § 1630 was repealed in 2005.

Question 3. What is the difference between dual and concurrent enrollment?

Answer: Although the term “concurrent enrollment” is not defined in the California Education Code, for our purposes, these terms have no difference and are used interchangeably in California. They signify enrollment in a college course while also being enrolled in elementary or secondary school. (Ed. Code § 76004.)

Question 4. What is the earliest grade and age for a student to begin dual or concurrent enrollment in a community college, college or university?

Answer: Ed. Code § 48800 authorizes the governing board of a school district to determine which pupils would benefit from advanced scholastic or vocational work. The governing board may authorize those pupils, upon recommendation of the principal of the pupil’s school, and with parental consent, to attend a community college during any session or term as special part-time or full-time students. Ed. Code § 48800 does not designate a minimum age or grade level but Ed. Code § 76002 provides that a community college district may limit the admission or enrollment of special students based on age or grade level.

Ed. Code § 11300 states that the goal of the middle college high school (MCHS) is to select at-risk high school students who are performing below their academic potential and place them in an alternative high school located on a community college campus in order to reduce the likelihood that they will drop out of school before graduation. Neither Ed. Code § 48800 nor § 11300 reference the California State University or the University of California.

Ed. Code § 11302 states that early college high schools (ECHS) are innovative partnerships between charter or non-charter public secondary schools and a local community college, the California State University or the University of California that allow pupils to earn a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit. For ECHS, pupils begin taking college courses as soon as they demonstrate readiness and the college credit earned may be applied toward completing an associate or bachelor’s degree. Ed. Code § 11302 does not specify an age.

Question 5. Is a community college instructor, teaching a course at the partnering high school campus, required to be a certificated employee of the school district or charter school in order for it to claim attendance for the purpose of apportionment?

Answer: Students are required to be under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district or charter school and engaged in educational activities that are required of them to generate attendance for the purpose of funding. (Ed. Code §§ 46300(a), 47612.5(e).) To the extent that the students are taught by a community college instructor who is not a certificated employee of the school district or charter school, students must also be under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district or charter school and engaged in educational activities required of them in order to generate attendance for the purpose of funding.

Question 6. If a college instructor is teaching a college course on a high school campus as part of a College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) partnership agreement and the college is claiming FTES, does the instructor need to be a certificated employee of the school district or charter school?

Answer: No. If the school district or charter school is not claiming attendance for the purpose of apportionment, for students participating in the college class, and if the school district or charter school is not including the time spent in the college class as instructional time, then the college instructor does not need to be a certificated employees of the school district or charter school in order to teach that class.

Question 7. Is there a situation where a community college course can be offered during a high school day where both the high school counts the course toward annual and daily minutes and the community college receives apportionment?

Answer: No. Pursuant to Ed. Code § 76004(r), “ a district shall not receive a state allowance or apportionment for an instructional activity for which the partnering district has been, or shall be, paid an allowance or apportionment. ”

For information on community college requirements to generate funding please contact the Intersegmental Support Unit at the California Community College Chancellor’s Office at phone number 916-322-1440.

Question 8. What is the maximum course enrollment per term for students enrolled in ECHS and MCHS programs?

Answer: Ed. Code § 76001(d) limits the number of college units that a high school student can earn through dual enrollment to 11 course units per term. However, Ed. Code § 76004(p) increases the course-unit cap to 15 units, for participants in CCAP partnerships.

Question 9. Is a concurrently enrolled school district student required to be scheduled for a minimum instructional day in order to generate attendance for the purpose of apportionment funding?

Answer: Yes. Ed. Code §§ 46146 and 46146.5 specify minimum day requirements for concurrently enrolled students. The minimum day requirements for students concurrently enrolled in a school district and on a part time basis in a California State University, University of California, or community college setting are as follows:

  • Grades 11 and 12 Enrollment in CSU or UC where not Enrolled in an ECHS or MCHS
    For students in grades 11 and 12 who are not enrolled in an ECHS or MCHS but are enrolled part time in classes of a California State University or a University of California, the minimum day per Ed. Code § 46146(a) is 180 minutes. Per Ed. Code § 46146(c), students that are scheduled for 180 minutes generate three-quarters of an average daily attendance (ADA).

  • Grades 9-12 Enrollment in Community College where not Enrolled in an ECHS or MCHS
    For students in grades 9-12 who are not enrolled in an ECHS or MCHS but are enrolled as special part time students at a community college, under Ed. Code §§ 48800 et seq, the minimum day per Ed. Code § 46146(b) is 180 minutes. Per Ed. Code § 46146(c), students that are scheduled for 180 minutes generate a maximum three-quarters of an ADA.

  • Enrollment in Grades 11 and 12 non-charter ECHS or non- charter MCHS and Enrolled in CSU or UC
    For students in grades 11 and 12 who are enrolled in a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS and are enrolled part time in courses of a California State University or a University of California, the minimum day is 180 minutes (Ed. Code § 46146.5(a).) Students, who are scheduled for at least 180 minutes of instructional time that meets statutory instructional time requirements, generate a maximum of one full ADA.

    In addition, Assembly Bill 99 amended Ed. Code § 46160 to specify that the governing board of a school district that maintains an ECHS or MCHS may schedule classes in these schools so that students concurrently enrolled part time in courses of a community college, California State University, or University of California and a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS attend classes at the non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS for at least 900 instructional minutes during any five-schoolday period or 1,800 instructional minutes during any 10-schoolday period.

  • Enrollment in a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS and Community College
    For students who are enrolled in a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS and are enrolled as special part time students at a community college, under Ed. Code §§ 48800 et seq, the minimum day, per Ed. Code § 46146.5(b), is 180 minutes. Non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS students that are concurrently enrolled in a community college and scheduled for at least 180 minutes of instruction that meets the statutory instructional time requirements, generate a maximum of one full ADA.

    In addition, Assembly Bill 99 amended Ed. Code § 46160 to specify that the governing board of a school district that maintains an ECHS or MCHS may schedule classes in these schools so that students concurrently enrolled part time in courses of a community college, California State University, or University of California and a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS attend classes at the non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS for at least 900 instructional minutes during any five-schoolday period.

  • Enrollment in non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS where not Enrolled in CSU, UC or Community College.
    For students enrolled in a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS who are not enrolled part time in courses of a California State University or University of California or as special part time students at a community college, the required minimum day is 240 minutes.
Question 10. Are there any classroom based scheduling requirements for a student concurrently enrolled at a charter school and a UC, CSU or community college?

Answer: Yes. Ed. Code § 46146.5(d) specifies classroom based scheduling requirements for students concurrently enrolled in a charter ECHS or a charter MCHS and on a part time basis in a California State University, University of California, or community college setting. Ed. Code § 76004(s)(2) specifies classroom based scheduling requirements for students enrolled in a charter high school that is not an ECHS or not a MCHS and a community college per a CCAP partnership agreement. The requirements are as follows:

  • Enrollment in Grades 11 and 12 charter ECHS or charter MCHS and Enrolled in CSU or UC
    In order to claim classroom based attendance for 11th and 12th grade students who are enrolled in a charter ECHS or charter MCHS and are enrolled part time in courses of a California State University or a University of California, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school must be offered at the schoolsite and the charter school must require students to attend at least 50 percent of the minimum instructional time offered at the schoolsite in order to generate ADA for the purpose of funding.(Ed. Code § 46146.5(d).)

  • Enrolled in a charter ECHS or charter MCHS and Enrolled in Community College
    In order to claim classroom based attendance for students who are enrolled in a charter ECHS or charter MCHS and are enrolled as special part time students at a community college, and will receive academic credit upon completion, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school must be offered at the schoolsite and the charter school must require students to attend at least 50 percent of the minimum instructional time offered at the schoolsite in order to generate ADA for the purpose of funding. (Ed. Code § 46146.5(e).)

  • Enrollment in a charter ECHS or charter MCHS and not Enrolled in CSU, UC or Community College
    In order to claim classroom based attendance for students who are enrolled in a charter ECHS or charter MCHS and not enrolled in courses of a California State University, a University of California, or as special part time students at a community college under Ed. Code §§ 48800, et seq, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school must be offered at the schoolsite and the charter school must require students to attend at least 67 percent of the minimum instructional time offered at the schoolsite in order to generate ADA for the purpose of funding. (Ed. Code § 46146.5(f).)

  • Enrollment in Charter School with a College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) partnership agreement and enrolled in a Community College
    In order to claim classroom based attendance for students that are enrolled in a charter school that is part of a CCAP partnership agreement under Ed. Code § 76004, and enrolled as special part time students at a community college and will receive academic credit upon satisfactory completion of enrolled courses, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school must be offered at the schoolsite and the charter school must require students to attend at least 50 percent of the minimum instructional time required to be offered pursuant to Ed. Code § 47612.5(a)(1), in order to generate ADA for the purpose of funding. (Ed. Code § 76004(s)(2).)

  • Enrollment in charter school with a CCAP partnership agreement and not enrolled in a Community College
    In order to claim classroom based attendance for students who are enrolled in a charter school that is part of a CCAP partnership agreement under Ed. Code § 76004, and not enrolled as special part time students at a community college, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school must be offered at the schoolsite in order to generate ADA for the purpose of funding. (Ed. Code § 76004(s)(2).)
Question 11. Our District wants to open an ECHS but currently there is no partnership with a community college or any higher educational institution; can we still open an ECHS with no partnership?

Answer: Based on Ed. Code § 11302, ECHS are innovative partnerships between charter or non-charter public secondary schools and a local community college, the CSU, or the UC that allow pupils to earn a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit in four years or less. Thus, by definition, a higher educational institution is one half of an early college high school.

Question 12. If a college course is offered on a school district's high school campus during the normal school day, namely during a class period, and the college course is not being counted towards instructional minutes; would that comply with the Ed Code?

Answer: Regardless of the number of courses offered, pupils must be scheduled for at least a minimum day in courses that meet K-12 instructional time requirements. California law places some funding restrictions on community colleges offering classes to high school students. With regard to how these restrictions apply to community colleges offering courses on ECHS or MCHS campuses, please contact the Intersegmental Support Unit at the California Community College Chancellor’s Office at phone number 916-322-1440.

Question 13. What is the difference between a MCHS and an ECHS?

Answer: A MCHS is a collaborative effort between local school districts and community colleges. The goal of the middle college high school is to select at-risk students who are performing below their academic potential and place them in an alternative high school located on a community college campus in order to reduce the likelihood that they will drop out of school before graduation.(Ed. Code § 11300.)

ECHS are innovative partnerships between charter or non-charter public secondary schools and a local community college, the California State University, or the University of California that allow pupils to earn a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit in four years or less.(Ed. Code § 11302.)

Question 14. Where can I locate lists of ECHS and MCHS along with different ECHS and MCHS models and designs?

Answer: For information regarding ECHS, visit the Early College Designs-Jobs for the Future Web Site at http://www.jff.org/ (Outside Source). For lists and resources for MCHS, visit the Middle College National Consortium Website at http://mcnc.us (Outside Source).

Question 15. Can an ECHS or a MCHS within a district use the average of two instructional days to meet the 180 minutes of daily instruction?

Answer: No. ECHS or MCHS cannot use the two day averaging authorized by Ed. Code § 46142. The statute permitting two day averaging establishes two day averaging to meet a 240-minute minimum day with 180-minutes being the absolute minimum number of minutes that can be offered in a given day.

While ECHS or MCHS cannot use two day averaging as authorized by Ed. Code § 46142, AB 99 amended Ed. Code § 46160 to specify that the governing board of a school district that maintains an ECHS or MCHS may schedule classes in these schools so that students concurrently enrolled part time in courses of a community college, California State University, or University of California and a non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS attend classes at the non-charter ECHS or non-charter MCHS for at least 900 instructional minutes during any five-schoolday period or 1,800 instructional minutes during any 10-schoolday period.

Question 16. Do passing period minutes count toward the 180-minutes total?

Answer: It depends. A reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 10 minutes, to walk from one K-12 class to another K-12 class can be included in instructional time. Time to walk from one K-12 class to a community college class or from a community college class to a K-12 class cannot be included in instructional time.

Question 17. My high school student is enrolled in a dual enrollment program. Is the college required to pay for the college text books and supplies?

Answer: If the student is enrolled in a dual enrollment program that is not a CCAP partnership agreement, the student may be required to provide for his or her own college textbooks and supplies. If the student is enrolled under a CCAP partnership agreement, then all textbooks and supplies must be provided. (Ed. Code § 76004(f).)

Question 18. Are students who are enrolled in dual enrollment programs required to pay for their own college fees?

Answer: If the student is enrolled under a CCAP partnership agreement, the college may not assess student fees. (Ed. Code § 76004(f).)

Question 19. If a traditional/comprehensive high school, that meets the definition of a school and has its own principal, converts to an early college high school, would that traditional school need to apply for a new County-District-School (CDS) Code? Would that school keep its original CDS code?

Answer: The school would not need to apply for a new CDS code because the CDS Office does not have any coding specifically for an ECHS that would result in a record change.

Question 20. How can my high school student take college courses while enrolled in high school without participating in an ECHS or MCHS?

Answer: Based on Ed. Code § 48800, a school district may determine which students may benefit from academic enrichment or vocational work by enrolling in one or more college courses. Through this dual enrollment process, the student may attend a community college, as a special part-time student, with a recommendation from the student’s principal and with parental consent. Also, see FAQ number 1.

Question 21. My school district is partnering with a community college to offer college classes to high school students. The college courses are not being included in the school district’s instructional time requirements and attendance. Also, the program is distinct from independent study programs and/or correspondence courses. The college instructor provides all of the instruction and provides the grades for each student. The staff member at the high school who enters the grade of each student in the high school database does not hold a teaching credential. Is the school staff member entering the grades required to hold a teaching credential?

Answer: Because the college courses are not being included in the district’s instructional time requirements and attendance in them is not being used for K-12 apportionment, and because the program described is distinct from independent study programs and/or correspondence courses, there does not appear to be any applicable requirement that the staff member entering the grades hold a teaching credential.

Question 22. Can a school be both a traditional/comprehensive high school and an early college high school concurrently?

Answer: No. According to Ed. Code § 11302, early college high schools (ECHSs) are small, autonomous schools. ECHSs may, however, have some students that are enrolled in the ECHS but are not concurrently enrolled in the community college. Additionally, an ECHS may operate on the same location of a comprehensive high school, since they are established under separate statutory authority.

Question 23. How should school districts or charter schools address calendar differences between community colleges and school districts or charter schools?

Answer: The alignment of school calendars between school districts or charter schools and community colleges offering concurrent enrollment programs including ECHS and MCHS is the responsibility of the school districts or charter schools and community colleges entering into concurrent enrollment arrangements. The local governing boards of school districts or charter schools set school calendars. In preparing school calendars, local governing boards and school districts or charter schools should keep the following instructional time requirements in mind:

  • The school calendar should be set within the July 1-June 30 school year.

  • School districts must offer at least 180 instructional days per year. Failure to offer 180 instructional days carries a fiscal penalty. (Ed. Code §§ 46200, 46208.)

  • Charter schools must offer at least 175 instructional days per year. Charter schools that do not offer at least 175 days of instruction will have their LCFF apportionment reduced accordingly. (5 CCR § 11960).

  • School districts and charter schools must offer 64,800 instructional minutes each year to students in grades 9-12. Not offering the required instructional minutes carries a fiscal penalty. (Ed. Code §§ 46201, 46207, 47612.5.)

  • School districts must schedule students for at least the minimum statutory day, each day.

  • Charter schools must schedule students in accordance with classroom based or non-classroom based requirements.

  • No track within a multitrack charter school shall have less than 55 percent of its school days before April 15.

  • If students aren’t scheduled appropriately, ADA and/or instructional time can be lost.
Question 24. Do ECHS or MCHS have annual instructional day and minute requirements?

Answer: Yes. ECHS or MCHS operated by school districts must offer at least 180 days of instruction per year. All students in grades 9-12 must be offered at least 64,800 instructional minutes each year. Charter ECHS or Charter MCHS must offer students at least 175 instructional days. Similar to school districts, all 9-12 grade students in ECHS or MCHS must be offered at least 64,800 instructional minutes per year. Also, see FAQ number 23.

Question 25. How should districts capture college credit-bearing courses(e.g., dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment) in their local student information systems so that the courses are reported to CALPADS?

Answer: Local educational agencies (LEAs) are responsible for reporting all courses students have completed during the academic year in the CALPADS End-of-Year 1 Course Section Completion (CRSC) data submission. These courses include any course for which the student earned college credit (e.g. dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment courses).Generally, this information comes from a combination of information entered into the master schedule and transcript sections of the student information system. The information is then extracted from the student information system and put into the CRSC file for submission to CALPADS. In the CRSC file, courses that meet the following criteria are counted as college credit-bearing courses for purposes of the College and Career Indicator:

CALPADS Field #9.07 (CRS-State Course Code) equals any of the following:

  • 2190:College Credit Course – English Language Arts

  • 2290: College Credit Course – Foreign Languages

  • 2490: College Credit Course – Mathematics

  • 2690: College Credit Course – Science

  • 2790: College Credit Course – History/Social Science

  • 2890: College Credit Course – Visual or Performing Arts

  • 6090: College Credit Course – Other


OR

CALPADS Field #9.07 (CRS-State Course Code) equals:

  • Any of the 7000-8999 career technical education course codes


AND

CALPADS Field #9.19 (Course Section Instructional Level Code):

  • Courses marked with 16 – “College Credit”


For more information about reporting college credit courses in CALPADS, you may contact the CALPADS Office at 916-324-6738.

Questions:   Carolyn Hamilton | chamilton@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5765
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 15, 2019