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Assistant U.S. Education Secretary visits Early College Academy

January 14, 2020 - U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Frank Brogan met with administrators, teachers, and students at Early College Academy (ECA) to learn about how this particular school is so successful while providing options in education. Assistant Secretary Brogan is visiting schools across the country that are rethinking education and offering unique learning opportunities to meet students’ needs.

Brogan, a former fifth-grade teacher, school superintendent and college system chancellor, said it’s critical that adults are willing to embrace change and recognize they need to create learning strategies and programs around students, rather than forcing students to conform to outdated systems.

Early College Academy was recognized in September as a National Blue Ribbon School in the exemplary high-performing schools category. While on ECA campus Brogan learned more about South Louisiana Community College’s partnership with the Lafayette Parish School system, which gives students the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school. Opportunities like this one provide students the freedom to earn a college degree more quickly and often with less debt. This program integrates students into a full college environment and helps them graduate simultaneously with their high school diploma and associate degree.
Principal Alex Melton of ECA said the school currently has 270 students, with an average of 90% to 95% graduating with their associate degree and about 85% moving on to pursue four-year degrees after graduation. Melton’s secret to success - strong personal relationships, embracing students’ interests, and a rigorous academic environment.

Brogan dedicated some time to speak with the students and hear their accounts first hand. The students pictured below were well-spoken and clearly articulated their future ambitions - from entertainer to heart surgeon.

Left to right: Ryah Grace Daunoy, Cade Roland, Frank Brogan, Ramudhi Kariyawasam, Claire Posey, Blaze Robin, John Bellamy II