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2021 National Blue Ribbon logo
GUSD Communications

GUSD’s early college academy recognized as an Exemplary High-Performing School

Gilroy, CA – The Gilroy Unified School District is proud to formally announce that the Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) has been named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, a prestigious honor awarded to only 325 schools nationwide.  GECA has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary High-Performing School, as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.  The announcement was made at 8:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.  The Secretary of Education will make an official video announcement online on Wednesday, September 22, at 8:00 a.m. PST..

GECA is located on the Gavilan College campus, and is one of four high schools in the Gilroy Unified School District. GECA is a 9th-12th grade academic program designed to foster academic and career success. GECA operates as an educational partnership between GUSD and Gavilan College, and is one of the cutting-edge Early College High Schools that have been designed, implemented, and funded nationwide through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in cooperation with Jobs For the Future, local community colleges, and school districts.

GECA students graduate with a high school diploma and an associates degree or two years of college credit (between 40 to 60 transferable college units), allowing them to enter a four-year college or university with sophomore or junior standing. 89% of students in the Class of 2021 petitioned to graduate with their Associates Degree while simultaneously earning their high school diploma.  Close to 97% of all graduates continue with their college education after graduation.

“We are ecstatic that GECA has been recognized with an award of this caliber,” said GUSD Superintendent, Dr. Deborah A. Flores.  “On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to commend the GECA staff and students for their commitment to educational excellence.  We are proud of your efforts in the classroom and in our community.”

The school has previously been recognized as California Distinguished School (2019), California Honor Roll (2016), a California Gold Ribbon School (2016), and the 3rd ranked high school in California by US News and World Report (2019).  More information about the GECA program is available online. Read the press release from the National Blue Ribbon Schools program