A second collegiate academy is under way in Irving ISD thanks in part to a $150,000 grant the district was recently awarded by the Texas Education Agency. South Irving Collegiate Academy is set to open with its first freshman class in August 2022 in partnership with Dallas College.

Students who attend South Irving Collegiate will have the opportunity to earn up to two years or 60 hours of college credit at no cost – an average savings of more than $50,000 for students wishing to attend a Texas public university, according to College for All Texans. The campus will be located at North Lake College Irving Center on the corner of West Shady Grove and MacArthur Boulevard in South Irving. It will open with approximately 100 freshmen in August 2022 and will add a grade level each year until 2025.

What makes the district’s second collegiate academy different is that it will be based on the national P-TECH model. P-TECH, which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, takes the early college concept and adds a key component – the industry partnership. P-TECH campuses establish strong partnerships with local businesses and industries that allow students to gain relevant work experience in a targeted field.

The P-TECH Planning and Implementation grant will provide the district with funding for professional development for teachers, technology supplies and equipment, and marketing and recruitment materials.

“Giving more students the opportunity to earn college credit, tuition-free, along with relevant work experience while they are in high school is a priority for Irving ISD,” says Superintendent Magda Hernandez. “We are laser-focused on creating more access to college and career opportunities for our students.”

Irving High School alumnus Eber Perla has been named the founding principal of South Irving Collegiate Academy. Perla brings 11 years of education experience, including four years as the Collegiate Administrator at Pinkston Health and Technology Early College High School in Dallas ISD. Perla, who currently serves as Irving ISD’s Bilingual Programs Lead, was instrumental in helping to write the P-TECH planning and implementation grant.

“I was honored to be called back home to Irving to serve my community as the principal of South Irving Collegiate Academy,” says Perla. “Leading the district’s first P-TECH academy is a privilege, and I am dedicated to providing each student the same opportunities Irving ISD gave me, the opportunities all students deserve.”