Early College STEM Academy

The Early College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Academy is a partnership between the Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison College. The Academy is designed to expand access to college courses in science, technology, engineering and math and to increase opportunities for students to earn college credit in high school at no cost to them or their families. Learn more about the Early College STEM Academy in this Curriculum Overview

See what current students (and their parents) enrolled in the Early College STEM Academy have to say about their experience so far. 

studnets enjoying class

Learn more about the Early College STEM Academy

Congratulations to our inaugural cohort on earning a 3.6 grade point average in the first semester! This article by the Wisconsin State Journal does a great job of highlighting and explaining the program.

Apply for the Early College STEM Academy

The online application for Early College STEM Academy is available now. Online Application window will be November 16 - January 29, 2021

High school sophomores must meet the following criteria: Minimum 2.25 grade point average; 90% attendance rate

All students are encouraged to apply, with a special emphasis on those that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM and STEM-related fields, including students who identify as female and students of color.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Applications are available in the counselor office at your school. Students are asked to complete an application, due by 3:00pm on January 29, 2021. As part of the application, that will ask them to identify two adults who will provide recommendations for them. In addition, students will be invited to an interview where they will have an opportunity to share more about their interest in enrolling in the Early College STEM Academy (ECSA).

  • All current 10th graders that meet the initial criteria are encouraged to apply.

  • At this time, we are selecting students for a 2-year cohort only. So applications to the program are for 10th grade students only (to enroll in the program for 11th and 12th grade).

  • Yes. Coursework for the Early College STEM Academy(ECSA) program will end in time for students to return to their home high school in order to participate in after school activities.

  • Yes. There are a variety of elective course options available at Madison College that students may choose from. Students must select from regularly offered sections.

  • Elective courses will be with other Madison College students during the regularly scheduled sections. Many of the courses ECSA students take over the two years of the program will be with other Madison College students. It is important to note that ECSA students will be Madison College students themselves!

  • Being advanced beyond the minimum expectation of the cohort will not prevent a student from being considered for ECSA. Students who excel in math will be placed into an appropriate class, based on AP scores, placement scores, or other factors. It is important to note that special cohort classes for advanced students in the first semester will not be arranged; instead, advanced students must select from regularly offered sections that would include other Madison College students. Students who want credit for their high school AP classes will need to take the AP test and share scores with Madison College for consideration for credit.

  • Madison College only offers Spanish, levels 1 through 5, and French, levels 1 through 5; there are no other world language options. Students would take a placement test in the summer prior to starting courses to identify the appropriate course level. Language courses would be considered electives for students and would be taken with other Madison College students.

  • The schedule will follow a similar schedule as a typical high school day. Significant differences exist in comparing the week schedule for a student in the Early College program compared to a typical high school setting. Courses in the Early College program will likely be scheduled on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday schedule, so students attend class on 2 or 3 days during the week (compared to 5 days a week at a typical high school schedule). On alternate days, students will attend an academic support time, designed specifically to support students in the Early College STEM Academy program at Madison College.

  • Most if not all of the courses for the ESCA students will be held at the South Campus.

  • ECSA students will not be together for all classes during the 2-year program. They will have a number of cohort classes the first semester and one the second semester. For other courses, they will take regularly scheduled courses with other Madison College students.

  • Yes, courses typically follow a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule, like many colleges use. Students will be expected to participate in scheduled time at the Student Achievement Center at Madison college during time outside of their scheduled classes.

  • The plan is for classes for ECSA students to begin at 8:30am and conclude by 2:30pm each day so that students have time to get back to their high schools for after-school activities. However, students are open to enroll in elective classes outside of that time frame if it fits their personal schedules.

  • A minimum full-time college course load is considered to be 12 credits.  That would be four 3-credit classes per semester. Depending on the scheduling of those classes, students would attend two to four classes each day with a 12 credit load. Note, as college students, ECSA students are expected to complete two to four hours of work outside of class for every hour spent in class.

    Students may take more than 12 credits per semester; in fact, they need to average 15 credits per semester to complete the 60 credit Associate of Science degree, unless they take summer school. Students may also choose to take less than 12 credits if they need to, though should keep in mind that they need to complete enough credits to meet high school graduation requirements. All ECSA students will be provided personalized guidance for course selection that help meet their academic and career goals.

  • In the first semester (Fall 2021), the plan is for students to take Introduction to College Writing, Intermediate Algebra, Modern US History, and College Success (1 credit course) as a cohort, meaning they would all be in the same section with no other outside students in the section. Students would also enroll in a PE class of their choice, meaning it would be a regularly offered Phy Ed class with other college students in it. They would also have an option to take one more elective class if they wanted.

    In their second semester (Spring 2022), students would take English 1 as a cohort, but all their other classes they would choose from existing regular classes. After that, students would continue to pick courses from the regular offerings that work towards their personal academic and career goals.

  • Students currently enrolled in DLI programs can make a choice to be in the Early College STEM Academy, though they will not be able to continue in the DLI program.

  • Students currently enrolled in AVID can make a choice to be in the Early College STEM Academy, though they will not be able to continue in the AVID program.

  • Students currently in the PEOPLE program will be able to continue and benefit from this while also attending the Early College STEM academy.

  • Yes.

  • Yes. Students in the Early College STEM Academy are still considered high school students in the Madison school district and will be required to take the ACT test as 11th grade students.

Armon, an Early College STEM Academy student looks on an item with a light.

Contact Information

For general questions about the program, contact Cindy Green at 608-663-5216 

Capital High - Marianne Matt

EastMonique Billings and Sarah Elmore

La Follette - Judy Christensen

MemorialLen Mormino and Emily Cochran

Shabazz - Elizabeth Long

WestLisa Lehman and Joanna Williams