The Early College High School (ECHS) Concept
Early College High Schools (ECHS) blend high school and college curricula into a simultaneous educational experience that gives traditionally underserved students the chance to earn up to two years (60 hours) of college credit while they finish high school. The facilities, usually located on college or university campuses, make higher education more accessible and also help students become more comfortable in a higher education environment.
DeSoto Early College High School
In 2014, DeSoto ISD launched the DeSoto Early College High School (ECHS) within the district. The DeSoto ECHS was created through a partnership with Cedar Valley College. The school was developed based upon the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. The focus of DeSoto ECHS is exclusively college preparation for first generation college-bound students; however, enrollment is not limited to this criteria. Each year DeSoto ECHS will enroll approximately 100-125 students at the freshman level. Students who attend DeSoto ECHS will be given the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in addition to their high school diploma. College courses are offered tuition free to ECHS students. Students currently in 8th grade will be asked to apply to the program during the spring semester.
From 1956 to 1962, DeSoto High School was located at 200 East Belt Line Road. In 1962, a new campus opened at 601 East Belt Line Road (present-day DeSoto High School). As the district continued to grow, voters approved a $7.5 million bond by a margin 445-366 in 1973 that contained a provision for the construction of a new high school.
On February 15, 1974, a groundbreaking ceremony took place at the new site—600 Eagle Drive. The building contract was awarded to Central Texas Construction of Terrell at a cost of approximately $3,100,000. It opened on August 16, 1976.
To relieve overcrowding, an adjoining Freshman Campus opened in 1997 to serve the district's ninth graders.
The Dallas Morning News
reported that the school "had a lower-than-expected college readiness percentage." In 2011, the district built additions to improve the school's college and career academies. The State of Texas defined "college readiness," or readiness to undergo university studies, by scores on the ACT andSAT and in the 11th grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests.
Desoto High offers an International Baccalaureate, Early College, and Magnet program to better serve the diverse academic needs of its student body.