Building Pathways to College: NS4ed and Early College Programs

Early College growth and sustainability is a clear goal for many states. In particular, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s design for Early College allows students to access college courses while still in high school; in so doing, students may take a minimum of 12 college credit hours towards both high school graduation and to build a college transcript. Undergirded by five guiding principles, the door is open for students of all academic, social, and racial backgrounds to join the Early College movement.

NS4ed, LLC is a partner with several states that support Early College programs. The School Services Department works with state and school officials to explore topics of interest and innovation. Further, there are always robust conversations regarding the 5 guiding principles: remaining focused on equitable access, connecting Early College to career, providing wraparound supports for students, offering guided academic pathways, and ensuring effective and communal partnerships. There is a climate of excitement as educators continue to discuss growth methodology and student success as key pieces of moving forward their individual Early College programs.

NS4ed School Services Department members excitedly visit Early College programs in several states. During the visits, school leaders and Early College specific personnel wanted to share the lived experiences of students in Early College. The impact of Early College in Massachusetts is riveting.

Meet Kali! A senior Early College student at Haverhill High School, Kali is the true profile of student success. A Spring 2023 graduate, with over 40 college credit hours from her Early College experience, Kali will attend Norwich University in Fall 2023. Most certainly, from her Early College exposure, Kali is equipped to advocate for herself as a student, manage her time, select appropriate courses for her major, and navigate a college campus with confidence. Kali was a college student receiving support while in high school for 2 years. What an invaluable experience to prepare her for her future. Add that she is also the Lieutenant Colonel of her school’s ROTC program. In this space, she is underrepresented, but her leadership and positive self-concept transfers into useful soft skills for success in college and beyond.

Kali’s story is just one of the many. Students truly benefit from Early College programs. When the program is properly aligned with the guiding principles, students see success and are motivated to pursue college at rates higher than their peers engaged in traditional high school programs. NS4ed will continue to commit to supporting the growth of Early College across the nation.

Jamisa and student
Dr. Jamisa Williams and Kali

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