Investing in Innovation Early College Expansion Partnership (i3 ECEP)

Learn More About i3

i3 Resource Toolkit

Click here for the i3 Resource Toolkit, launched May 2018, containing a variety of tool types - from policy papers and reports that have driven our work, to authentic practitioner artifacts like slide decks, worksheets and lesson plans - from our work with the Investing in Innovation Early College Expansion Partnership (i3ECEP).

View the i3 Resource Toolkit

Resource Documents

About i3

The Investing in Innovation (i3) “early college for all” approach originated with the premise that all students, regardless of academic performance, can achieve college readiness when they have sufficient academic and social support, engaging instructional practices, strong post-high school partnerships and courses aligned with their higher education goals.

The Investing in Innovation grant funded the Early College Expansion Partnership (ECEP), a five-year initiative, began in 2012 with two goals: 1) to scale up designs of early college programs through systemwide secondary school improvement and college readiness strategies for all students, and 2) to position early college designs to continue after the funding and to further scale-up within South Texas, metropolitan Denver and beyond.

The ECEP included three diverse school systems: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA), Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) and the Denver Public Schools (DPS), plus intermediaries Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Educate Texas. All sites received coaching to implement the Common Instructional Framework, a set of six research-based strategies developed by JFF. JFF and Educate Texas also provided strategic advice to central office staff and helped develop and strengthen higher education partnerships and certificate pathways. Principals received coaching in how to guide the transformation of instruction, curriculum and school culture.

JFF and Educate Texas partnered in conducting professional development for administrators, teachers and counselors. Educate Texas played a key role in technical assistance to PSJA and BISD, providing frequent guidance to district administrators and leadership coaching for the early college high school directors. It also provided instructional coaching for teachers and internal coaches hired by the school districts. Throughout the project, Educate Texas helped the two districts and their post-high school partners build the capacity to collect, share and analyze student data to inform shared decision making. Six core elements are used as benchmarks for Early College High School Success:


  • Target Population
  • Partnership Agreement
  • P-16 Leadership Initiatives
  • Curriculum and Support
  • Academic Rigor and Readiness
  • School Design

The Investing in Innovation Fund, managed by the U.S. Department of Education, received matching funds from the AT&T Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation, the Community College of Aurora Foundation, Denver Public Schools Foundation, Emily Griffith Foundation, the Greater Texas Foundation and the Timothy & Bernadette Marquez Foundation.