In fall 2011, Jefferson High School transformed from a comprehensive neighborhood school to a middle college focus school open to all PPS students. Students take high school-level courses at the high school and college courses at Portland Community College-Cascade Campus. The nonprofit Self Enhancement Inc. provides mentoring and social supports. They earn college credits, ranging from several classes to a full year — 45 credits — by the time they earn their Jefferson diploma.
The changes are paying off. Enrollment is up in one year from 413 to 443. (The target enrollment is 450-600.) And more sophomores are on track to graduate on time than were before. The four-year grad rate is still too low at 55 percent, but the class of 2015 will be the first graduating class to fully benefit from the increased rigor and support.
The scholarship program is open to Pell Grant-eligible students graduating from Jefferson with at least one year's worth of transferable PCC college credits. They must also meet admission criteria for the various universities. Graduates will be eligible for a scholarship whether they enter the university directly after graduation or first complete a one-year certificate or two-year transfer degree at PCC.
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