Students talk amongst themselves before Friendship Capitol High School's rally celebrating a 42 point gain in its school performance award on December 16, 2016 in the Friendship Capitol High School gym

Friendship Capitol High School is getting in on the early college bandwagon.

The Baton Rouge charter school, located at 1,000 N 23rd St., is partnering up with Wiley College, a historically black private college in Marshall, Texas., to start a new early college academy. Starting this school year with its incoming ninth-graders, Friendship Capitol students will be able to amass enough college credits by the time they graduate to earn an associate’s degree on top of their high school diploma.

Friendship’s rising seniors will also be able to go to Wiley’s northeast Texas campus to attend the college's five-week summer bridge program.

Ashley Northington, a public relations person representing the school, said Friendship Capitol is shooting for 80 to 100 of its 400 students to take part in the early college.

“All credits earned through the Early College Academy will be transferable to Louisiana public colleges,” said Ashley Northington, a public relations person representing the school.

Friendship Capitol has hired a director of college and career readiness to oversee the academy, and the high school also is in the process of renovating space for the academy in the old Capitol High campus and outfitting it with furniture and technology, Northington said.

Since 2014, the north Baton Rouge high school has been under the control of Washington, D.C.-based Friendship Schools. Capitol is the charter school management group’s only school in Louisiana. The school earned a D letter grade in its latest state report card, significantly improving over the year before.

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