Douglas B. Kearse, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change
The Savannah Early College Program (SECP) opened its doors in August 2007 to make a difference in the lives of all students who enrolled. Its primary mission was to combine academic rigor and support to help students enter college early and graduate from high school with up to 2 years of college credit. Since SECP joined the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) that was launched in 2002, with the financial support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SECP has received local recognition for educating students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education settings. Using an action-oriented research approach, this research focused on the SECP and its ability to meet the needs of stakeholders including parents, students, and teachers of the SECP. The study aspired to determine the benefits of the SECP and what can be done to improve the service SECP provides parents and students. The data collected from 40 focus group participants revealed SECP’s strengths, which include a curriculum that helps students to enter college early and save tuition cost; a supportive staff that expects students to achieve at their highest levels; and a diverse and safe school environment that offers a family-like atmosphere and supports teacher and student bonding.