Expanded Early College Program in Boston
To ensure that all Boston Public Schools (BPS) students have access to early college opportunities, the city is increasing school attendance and seeking a competitive state grant.
Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Public Schools (BPS), in partnership with Boston colleges and employers, today announced the addition of six new Early College and Innovation Pathway Programs for the 2022-2023 school year. These programs will provide new opportunities for BPS students to gain college credit and work experience while still in high school in fields ranging from life sciences and healthcare to computer science and finance. The city also announced that BPS is seeking a competitive grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that would allow Boston to develop a consortium model to expand Early College and Innovation Pathway opportunities to thousands of students. across the district. The application is designed to explore how more BPS schools and higher education institutions can partner to offer early college programs for students without seeking individual state designations.
“Expanding access to college and early-career careers will help connect Boston’s young people to the limitless opportunities in our most innovative industries, from life sciences to healthcare and technology. “, said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Every BPS student should experience college and career opportunities while still in high school, earning credits and gaining valuable work experience that will ease the transition after graduation. I thank the colleges and businesses that are already working with BPS and call on the entire higher education and business community to join us.
Additional programs that will be offered next year are:
First university courses
- Computer Science and Engineering Programs at New Mission High School
- Entrepreneurship Program at Fenway High School
- Health Sciences Pathway at Brighton High School
- Business-Finance course at Excel High School
- Biotechnology Pathway at Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Early College offers high school students the opportunity to experience and complete 12 college credits while simultaneously learning about a variety of college majors and career opportunities. Innovation Pathways provides students with courses and experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as biotechnology, life sciences, healthcare, information technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing. Innovation Pathways provides students with technical courses, degrees, and work-based learning experiences, including a 100-hour internship or multiple capstone projects in a specific high-demand industry in Boston. Students take two technical courses in their high school and two advanced courses, including the option of dual enrollment in college courses.
BPS and the City of Boston intend that all programs be closely tied to opportunities in the city’s growth sectors and be linked to internships and other work opportunities with Boston employers. Studies have consistently shown that Early College programs reduce the time and expense required to earn a college degree while increase the probability of completion. Early College is especially beneficial for students who may be first-generation students or students who come from other marginalized communities and may not consider themselves potential students.
“By attending early college, I got a head start on learning the skills needed for today’s workforce,” said Alessia Martínez, junior at Dearborn STEM Academy and Health Sciences Pathway. “The new challenges and opportunities that were given to me opened my eyes to my potential and enabled me to become a responsible and motivated student. If the students took at least one university course, I think they would would find that they are more than capable of completing rigorous college courses that prepare them for future success.”
“Early exposure to college is helpful in figuring out what you want to do in your future job,” said Juan Geronimo Ortiz, junior at Dearborn STEM Academy in computer science. “Students are placed in a new environment completely different from the world they know as high school students. The exposure allows students to reach their full potential once they arrive at university while learning about their own ability to achieve academic excellence. The lessons and lessons you learn from dual enrollment courses go beyond school, they will be with you for a lifetime. »
“Early College and Innovation Pathways are a critical part of our work in BPS to ensure our students have access to high-impact, high-quality programs that set them up for success after graduating from high school,” said Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. “Creating a variety of programs throughout the district not only benefits our students – it also benefits our neighborhoods, our employers, and the regional economy.”
“As public servants, our success is measured by the quality of the world we leave for the next generation. We have an obligation to ensure that our young people are ready to emerge in the professional world,” said Councilwoman Julia Mejia. “That’s why our office has spoken out on improving professional development, supporting career education, and intentionally creating more STEM opportunities for black and brown students in Boston. We are thrilled to see this urgency around professional development reflected in the expansion of early college programs.”
“At State Street, we want to hire BPS graduates and expand opportunities for people in our hometown. We view career-aligned Early College as a foundational strategy to help Boston students gain tangible experience and skills that will help them become our next employees,” said Ron O’Hanley, President and CEO of State Streetwhich has engaged in 40 BPS student internships across the Boston Council of Private Industry this summer. “We commend Mayor Wu and BPS for committing to this expansion.”
“Wentworth is proud to be the only private university to work with BPS to provide crucial college and career preparation and enrichment opportunities for Boston Public School students,” said Mark A. Thompson, President of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. “We look forward to expanding our collaboration with Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston Public Schools, and industry partners to give BPS students the opportunity to participate in various courses at the institution and grow their experience and their comfort with a variety of technical and non-technical fields of study.
Mayor Wu and Boston Public Schools leadership are committed to expanding access to Early College at an accelerated pace. The city works closely with Boston’s institutions of higher education, major employers, and community youth-serving organizations to ensure that every student has the opportunity to access this transformative opportunity.
Early College and Innovation Pathways have proven success at Boston public schools, including: Charlestown High School, which offers Early College programs in business, health sciences, and technology with Bunker Hill Community College; Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, which offers a general middle school curriculum with Roxbury Community College and Bunker Hill Community College; Dearborn STEM Academy, which offers Innovation Pathways in Engineering & Computer Science and Early College programs in Health and Life Sciences with the Wentworth Institute of Technology; and Excel High School, which offers an innovation path for information technology.
In addition to the program expansion, Boston Public Schools applied for the Early College Incubator Planning Grant, a competitive grant administered by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that would enable Boston to investigate creating a consortium model to expand Early College and Each year, Innovation Pathway opportunities are offered to hundreds of high school students. The grant would enable BPS secondary schools to collectively partner with higher education institutions on the Early College and Innovation Pathways programs.