North Shore Community College has received a $150,000 planning and implementation grant from 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.
Gateway to College is a national early college high school program that enables students to earn a high school diploma while accruing substantial college credit. Eligible students are a diverse group of young people with academic promise between the ages of 16 and 21 who are unlikely to graduate from high school or who have dropped out, but who are motivated and willing to work hard to be successful in the program. Students may believe that a traditional high school setting is not the right fit, left high school before graduating, were on the verge of leaving, or were behind in credits to graduate with their designated class; others are academic achievers or home schooled students getting a head start on a college education.
NSCC will partner with public school districts to prepare a contract and memorandum of understanding to document course compliance, curriculum articulation, and dual credit agreements. Then the College and participating school districts will work together to develop and regularly review an integrated academic plan that leads to a high school diploma and maximizes opportunities to earn college credit leading to a credential. 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.
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.
“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.
Gateway to College programs are financially sustainable, using public education funding and college infrastructure to support tuition, books, and dedicated staffing for the program. The program is currently offered at no cost to eligible students.
Being the only Gateway to College community college on the North Shore broadens the eligibility for a multiplicity of school districts to partner with NSCC on the program, from all across the college’s primary and secondary service area. “We’re proud to launch our seventh program in Massachusetts, and excited to see an additional pathway to high school graduation and a postsecondary credential for young people in the state,” stated GtCNN President Emily Froimson.
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 increasing the number of youth who connect to secondary and post-secondary success. Accordingly, one of its first endeavors under its Education strategies is a multi-year initiative to improve secondary outcomes for New England youth who are off track to graduate. In 2016, the Barr Foundation awarded Gateway to College National Network a $2.44 million grant, which will support the addition of six new Gateway to College programs in New England. The program at NSCC and one at Roger Williams College in Providence are the first two new programs to be announced as part of the Barr Foundation grant. Data shows that across the United States, approximately 2.6 million young people ages 16–24 are off track to graduate from high school.