ECISD Partners With UTRGV To Establish Collegiate High School

UTRGV President Guy Bailey addresses Edinburg CISD attendees after a special school board meeting was held to vote on the establishment of the Collegiate High School on Wednesday, March 23. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

Two Rio Grande Valley school districts today signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with UTRGV in support of the development and implementation of Collegiate High Schools.    The McAllen Independent School District and the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District made the commitment to provide their students additional opportunities to pursue college credit during high school, in separate signing ceremonies on Wednesday, March 23, in McAllen and Edinburg.     “The leaders at the McAllen and Edinburg school districts know how important it is for students to succeed,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “The access to higher education these partnerships with UTRGV will provide is paramount, starting with our youngest students and supporting them through the university.    “Our students are indeed our future, so we want to be sure our Valley students are well prepared and have every opportunity to get the jobs they dream of,” he said.    The Collegiate High Schools will offer a traditional high school curriculum, with special emphasis on Dual-Credit Educational Programs, as well as postsecondary higher-education programs, for undergraduate or higher courses of study to be provided by UTRGV.  
Academic programming will be specific to each school district’s students and will include pathways in the areas of education, engineering, computer science and health professions.     “We have multiple options for students to earn college credit, but this partnership is a game changer in that our students who choose this program will now be taking courses on a university campus, using world-class resources,” said Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, McAllen ISD superintendent.  “In short, they will begin constructing a successful future at no cost to their family,” he said. 

Pending UT System Board of Regents approval, the Edinburg site will be located on East Freddy Gonzalez Drive and Highway 281. The McAllen facility will be situated on the 38-acre property, located on the south side of Pecan Boulevard between Jackson and McColl roads within the 495 Commerce Center development, home to the future UTRGV McAllen Academic Medical Campus.
The goal of the Collegiate High Schools is to provide dynamic educational opportunities that will enrich the academic experience for students and facilitate a more seamless transition from high school to postsecondary education.  
UTRGV, McAllen ISD and Edinburg CISD are committed to building new facilities to house the Collegiate High Schools, given the many students who will benefit from the partnerships. As the projects develop, locations for the new campuses will be determined.  “This partnership is going to change lives and provide opportunities for students in a historic way that has not been possible before,” said Dr. Mario Salinas, superintendent of schools at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District. “By participating in this program, Edinburg CISD students will not only be able to obtain college credit during high school, but they also will have access to the highest-quality educational opportunities because of this extraordinary collaboration.  “The Collegiate High School will provide a rigorous and enriched educational experience to Edinburg CISD students in the areas of education, computer science, engineering, and health professions. We want our students to have every opportunity available to them so they can thrive at the university level, and then in the workforce when they graduate,” he said.    In November 2021, UTRGV, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and the City of Harlingen celebrated the opening of the UTRGV Harlingen Collegiate High, a dual enrollment school that specializes in career tracks for computer science, engineering and teacher preparation.    UTRGV-HCH offers bachelor’s degree programs that focus on academic core curriculum requirements, engineering, computer science and education. Students can earn up to 60 hours of college credit by the time they graduate high school.     More details regarding the location and construction of the Collegiate High Schools are forthcoming and contingent on UT System Board of Regents approval.