New NSCC program to give disconnected youth a second chance

PrintInformation Session September 7, 5-7 p.m., NSCC Lynn

Motivated young people between the ages of 16 and 21 who are having significant challenges completing high school, or who may have dropped out, may be eligible for North Shore Community College’s new free Gateway to College program.

Gateway to College provides youth a pathway to a high school diploma and meaningful college credential. Nationally, about 20% of high school students do not make it to graduation on time. There are many reasons for this, and the impact of not receiving a high school diploma is profound. Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or are significantly off track can complete their high school diplomas in college-based programs while simultaneously earning credits toward a postsecondary credential.

An information session for anyone interested in learning more will be held on September 7 from 5-7 p.m. on the college’s Lynn Campus, 300 Broad Street.

Beyond obtaining a high school degree, the larger goal of NSCC’s Gateway to College program is to have the majority of those served continue their education beyond the program to complete an associate degree or certificate program at NSCC, transfer to a four-year college, or enter the workforce with a college credential.

The college hopes to start this first year with between 50-150 students. “We know from the regional statistics that there are many young people who would benefit from this program. And the success rates of those participating are very high,” noted NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile. Program success rates per other MA GtC programs are: 73.7% persist for one year; 61.7% for two years and in three years 60% graduate. Average college credit earned by graduates are 25.56.

“We are excited to build on the success of our early college programs with the Lynn Public Schools, Essex Technical and Swampscott high schools to extend this effective national model to a vulnerable group of students who otherwise might not attain a high school diploma. One of our strengths is giving our students a lot of personalized support to ensure their success and completion, which will extend to this new initiative,” said NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile.

A strength of the program includes the built in wrap-around student support to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of students in an environment that fosters the development of knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in school and in life. Resource specialists and a caring team of instructors address the needs of the whole student in order to maximize program persistence and completion, and for students to learn the skills they need to succeed—in college, career and life.

NSCC is partnering with regional public school districts to develop the program and identify potential students. All activities will take place on NSCC’s campuses, with students dually enrolled in both the school district and the college, and receiving a high school diploma from the district in which they live.

The college received a $150,000 planning and implementation grant from the Portland, Oregon-based Gateway to College National Network to create a Gateway to College program to provide dual enrollment for high school students at risk of not graduating. The funding that will make this program possible on the North Shore is from the Barr Foundation’s Education program, which has the overarching goal of increasing the number of youth who connect to secondary and post-secondary success.

For more information, contact Nadira McDonald, Gateway To College, Director, nmcdonal@northshore.edu at (781) 477-2185 or (978) 762-4000, x5559.

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