There's a new trend in education, which is the "early college" model. These schools offer students both a high school diploma and an Associates degree from a partner college. There are several charter schools using this model in Colorado and even more planned.
The model is even more difficult than the obvious challenge to provide four years of high school and two years of college within a four-year span. Oftentimes the students who come to these charter schools are several grade levels below in reading and math.
Upon entrance most early college schools test students on the Accuplacer. This test determines if they're ready to take college coursework. I recently spoke to one administrator who said that 40% of their new students were reading at the 5th grade level, according to the Accuplacer. Since reading is key to being able to handle college-level courses, it's nearly impossible to advance studens without first intense remediation to bring up their reading level.
Now think about the social/behaviorial aspect to why a student is this far behind in reading or math. This is probably a student who "fell through the cracks" or had special needs that were never identified. This takes an emotional toll on the student and often they "give up" on their education. Accordingly, they don't have the discipline or commitment to study hard.
These challenges make the early college model extremely difficult, to say the least! Yet numerous students have found success and have become the first of their family to receive a college degree. The key is whether the student is willing to commit to the intense focus on academics that is required. That's different for every student and they have to look within in order to determine their own success.