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Board Move Makes New Name of Early College High School Official

December 18, 2018

Michelle Obama Early College High School at Tougaloo College The JPS Early College High School, a special program school for promising ninth-graders, has been named for former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees approved the name at its regular meeting held December 4. The full official name of the program is now Michelle Obama Early College High School Program at Tougaloo College. The announcement came just in time for a parent information meeting held on December 5 on the Tougaloo College campus.

Stakeholders representing Tougaloo College and Jackson Public Schools weighed in on the choice of a namesake. Participants voted overwhelmingly in favor of naming the program after Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama's name is fitting for the dual enrollment program that aims for its students to obtain up to an associate degree while completing high school graduation requirements. Through similar initiatives, she has sought improved educational outcomes for youth, especially girls and African Americans. For example, her Reach Higher initiative encourages high school graduates to attend four-year universities, community colleges or professional training programs. One of its goals is to increase the percentage of college graduates by 2020. Additionally, Obama has used her influence with the international community to urge leaders to commit to the support of girls who make sacrifices to earn an education.

The Michelle Obama Early College High School Program was established in the summer of 2018. The program helps first-generation college students and other underrepresented students earn college credits while in high school. It is open to any JPS eighth-grader who is motivated and willing to commit to the academically challenging program for all four years. Students who succeed will have completed graduation requirements and up to two years of college—all tuition-free.

Learn more about Early College High Schools by clicking one of the links below.

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