House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)
Early College Catching on With More Students [+Audio] .: The State House News Service

Early College Catching on With More Students

Financial Supports Holding Up In Budget Cycle

Board of Higher Education Chairman Chris Gabrieli spoke about the importance of early college programs at a briefing in the House Members' Lounge on Wednesday. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 26, 2020.....Anna Ureña-Luna studies criminal justice at Salem State University. Zashari Sanchez, a high school student, just applied to a handful of colleges with hopes to work in law enforcement. High School sophomore Noelia Ramos wants to take psychology or sociology classes in college.

And they say they owe their success to early college programs offered throughout the state. The partnerships between public high schools and local institutions of higher education allow students to pursue college credits while still roaming the halls of secondary education institutions. Lawmakers, advocates, and education officials met at the State House Wednesday to push for an increase in funding for the programs.

"It was really helpful to have the early college experience since my parents cannot tell me about college, especially in the United States. What they knew about colleges [came] from the Dominican Republic where things are very different," Ureña-Luna, a first-year at Salem State, said on Wednesday. "The early college program helped prepare me for success in college while also saving me time and money."

MassINC Chief Operating Officer Juana Matias said early college programs provide students a surefire way to enter higher education and complete their degree. In a presentation to lawmakers and advocates, she said 70 percent of jobs in the state require a career certificate or college degree.

Early college programs, she said, are carefully sequenced college classes taken during the high school day with academic and guidance support for students. The programs come at no cost to students or their families.

In two years, 2,300 students have enrolled in early college programs with 34 high schools and 16 higher education institutions participating.

"It is serving the highest needs students in our state," Matias said at the briefing. "These students are performing well academically, earning higher average GPAs than fully matriculated college students."

Sanchez, who attends Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, said entering into college classes while in high school was a culture shock but the early exposure will help her transition during her first year of college.

"I will be more prepared and I'll know what to do," she said at the briefing.

MassINC, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Massachusetts Association of Community College, The Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, and the Latino Education Institute hosted the briefing in an effort to tack on an extra $2.25 million for Concurrent and Dual Enrollment Programs and $500,000 for Early College Programs in the fiscal year 2021 budget.

SHNS Audio: Early College Programs Briefing - Feb. 26, 2020

Download tape

Gov. Charlie Baker submitted his proposed version of the fiscal 2021 budget in mid-January which includes both of the funding increases. Concurrent and Dual Enrollment Programs will be funded at $4.25 million and Early College Program is slated to receive $3 million if the Governor's budget passes unscathed.

State education officials expressed interest in early college initiatives on Thursday as they plan to review the first set of local achievement gap-closing plan required under a new seven-year school funding law known as the Student Opportunity Act. Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley wrote in a letter to local school officials that he wanted to accelerate the adoption of the programs.

Gov. Charlie Baker also filed a $74.2 million spending bill in early January that called for $5 million to support high school students in early college programs.

Worcester Public School Superintendent Dr. Maureen Binienda said when her district decided to roll out the early college programs in September 2018, 83 students signed up. This semester, 474 students are in early college programs, a number which represents 10 percent of all students in Worcester Public Schools.

Worcester offers the program at seven high schools with 27 unique courses and 58 sections. English language learners make up a majority of those participating with 324 students involved. The racial breakdown shows that 13.3 percent students are Black, 9.5 percent Hispanic, 6.9 percent white, and 8 percent are homeless students.

"This has made a difference for our students," she said at the briefing. "They're going to college and they are feeling differently about themselves."

Ramos, a sophomore at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, said she will have a total of nine college credits at the end of her sophomore year with plans to take summer classes. She said she strives for opportunities that can put her on the right path.

"I believe that early college is what I need to be successful," she said at the briefing. "I can learn new topics outside of the Madison Park curriculum and any regular high school curriculum. I can learn new skills that can help me get into college and my goal is to get my associate's degree and get into college."

-END-
02/26/2020


Serving the working press since 1894
http://www.statehousenews.com

SHNS Campaign Monitor

  • Bump Puts Thumb on 4th District Scale 4:50 PM Mon
  • Somerville Challenger Knocks House Leadership 9:31 AM Thu
  • Pelosi Touts Neal's Leadership 12:18 PM Wed

Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Individuals tested1,337,606
Confirmed cases112,969
Deaths8,751

Of Interest

State House Takeout Podcast

The Massachusetts Almanac

FREE throughout 2020 for SHNS subscribers!
Click here to learn more

Twitter

 
State House News Service