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The Eastern Promise is a collaboration between Eastern Oregon University, the InterMountain Education Service District (IMESD), Blue Mountain and Treasure Valley community colleges, and school districts in the eastern Oregon. The program creates additional opportunities for high school students to participate in college-level courses, as well as earn college credits and/or certificates, while still in high school, a big money savings for families. The goal is that the Eastern Promise will increase the number of eastern Oregon high school students who are prepared for and attend college directly from high school.
This follows along with the Governor’s “40-40-20” plan of having 40 percent of Oregonians earning a four-year degree, 40 percent earning an associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate, and 20 percent earning a high school diploma or equivalent. BMCC President John Turner, TVCC President Dana Young, EOU President Bob Davies, IMESD Superintendent Dr. Mark Mulvihill, and Malheur ESD Superintendent Tim Labrousse were key drivers behind the Eastern Promise and the collaboration between K-12 and higher education, as well as the program’s parallel goals with the 40-40-20 plan.
Currently, there are just three “pathways” to early college education in high school: Advanced Placement testing (which requires conformance to external curriculum and traditionally has low enrollment in smaller high schools); Dual Credit (which depends upon high instructor qualifications and has limited options in many high schools); and Dual Enrollment/Expanded Options (which can be very expensive for high schools and presents geographical challenges with the large distances between high schools and post-secondary providers).
The Eastern Promise solves many of these issues. It includes the aforementioned previous pathways, but adds a fourth, giving it a unique twist. First, it will be proficiency-based. Partner institutions will employ internally-developed learning outcome assessments to award college credit, with regional Professional Learning Communities of teachers and college staff collaborating regularly. Second, there will be local direction with the Eastern Promise. High schools will direct who teaches and who takes eligible coursework, while the higher education partners will direct proficiency assessments to assure control and alignment of the curriculum to maintain a high academic standard. Third, there will be local flexibility. Educational partners will be able to collaborate to offer the highest level of opportunity and support for students.
Eastern Promise will foster improved academic success among the children and youth of rural Oregon through higher education and K-12 partnerships that build a culture where a high school and a college degree are actively sought and obtained; Eastern Promise will provide access to early college credit activities; and support the 40/40/20 compact.
One University Boulevard
La Grande, OR 97850