The Baker – Polito Admin-istration officially designated five early college programs to help high school students better prepare academically for college while also earning college credits at no cost to them, with one of them being Charlestown High School.
Early college programs combine traditional high school courses with an opportunity to earn college credit at a public college or university and are typically aligned to a particular career pathway. The five designated early college programs are in Charlestown, Chelsea Holyoke, Brockton and Salem.
Each will enroll hundreds of students in the program next fall.
“Designating these five early college programs will create more opportunities for Massachusetts high school students to be ready for college,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “We are very proud of the faculty and staff at these high schools and colleges for taking on the hard work to create early college programs so students will benefit from challenging course work that will prepare them for success in high school and college, as well as reduce their overall cost to obtain a degree.”
Early college has been shown to boost college completion rates for low-income students, minorities and first-generation college-goers. By creating designated early college programs, the Administration aims to break down barriers between high school and higher education in order to create a more seamless path for students to move to college and careers.
Charlestown Headmaster William Thomas said the program helps students at the school get a jump on college and make it more affordable for them when they choose to attend college after high school.
He said the partnership will be with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and will allow students to pursue and, potentially, get an Associate’s Degree before they graduate.
Charlestown High School and Bunker Hill Community College were awarded $136,280. BHCC and Charlestown High will provide career pathway programs in information technology and business, which combine early college experiences and career exploration. The schools plan to expand opportunities to high school students and eventually add more fields to the program, with health and liberal arts courses as well.
In March 2017, Governor Charlie Baker announced the Baker-Polito administration would make efforts to significantly increase the number of early college seats available to high school students. Currently there are approximately 2,400 students enrolled in early college programs around the state.