Next fall, Dearborn Public Schools will start its fourth combined high school and associate degree program, this one focused on educating future educators.

Henry Ford Early College – School of Education will allow students to get degrees in child development or pre-education for elementary, secondary or special education.  Students can also leave with a paraprofessional certificate, giving them the option to work as a classroom aide while they pursue their bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.

The new School of Education joins three other Dearborn Public School programs that allow students in five years to both complete high school and earn an associate degree or professional certification, all at no cost to the family. All of the programs are possible through a partnership between the school district and Henry Ford College.  The three Henry Ford Early College programs are housed on the college campus, including existing programs focused on healthcare and manufacturing-related careers.  Another program, the Henry Ford Collegiate Academy, is a mix of traditional high school classes at Dearborn High, Edsel Ford or Fordson and courses at Henry Ford College.

Since the first early college started in 2007, Dearborn Public Schools has had more than 230 students graduate from the five-year programs.

Students in the School of Education will be able to get hands-on experience in classrooms across Dearborn Schools.  Eighth graders were allowed to apply to the college earlier this school year, although the program only recently received official state approval.  The School of Education is open to students from across Wayne County.  It will accept about 50 students each year.

“It’s going to be great,” said Early College Principal Majed Fadlallah.  Graduates from the program could help fill what is expected to be a growing teacher shortage in Michigan and around the country, Fadlallah said.

Dearborn School students enrolled in the combined high school/college programs are allowed to participate in traditional high school activities like sports and clubs back at their home high schools through 12th grade.  The district provides busing from the home high schools to the Early College programs.

“Dearborn Public Schools is grateful and proud to be able to offer our students these early college programs in cooperation with Henry Ford College.  Whether we are helping launch students directly into a career or giving them a head start on a university degree, we understand these programs are a great asset to our students, our families and our community,” said Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko.