Photo: Breyer Sousa and LyAnh L. Harding-Lu graduated from the Amesbury High School NECC Early College Program in 2012.
This year, four local high schools will be able to continue to participate in Early College Programs in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, thanks to $175,000 which was included in the state budget.
Students from Amesbury, Newburyport, Haverhill, and Methuen high schools will benefit from the funding, which cover teaching costs as well as scholarships.
Students in Early College Programs earn both college and high school credits for courses taken during high school. Courses are team-taught at partner high schools by college professors and high school teachers, and include classes such as U.S. History I, American Literature I, and College Success Seminar. Students can graduate with up to 48 college credits which translate to a year and a half of college. The credits earned from Northern Essex are transferable to other colleges and universities.
Early College Programs are designed to raise college readiness skills and college completion rates, according to Lori Weir, Northern Essex’s director of PK-12 partnerships. “We want to raise the bar for students who might not have college on their radar. The hope is that students who participate in the program will graduate from high school better prepared for college and will be more likely to attend college and graduate on time.”
State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives decided to seek the funding after learning that Amesbury High School’s highly successful Early College Program was being cut from the school budget.
“This is precisely the type of programming that should be offered to every high school student,” O’Connor Ives said. “It prepares them for college, saves them money and builds confidence in those that may think they are not college bound.”
“Northern Essex Community College is proud of the Early College Program we have developed with Amesbury High School over the last five years, and are very grateful to Senator O’Connor Ives for her support in helping this tremendously successful program continue, and to expand it to neighboring schools. Better education means better career opportunities and a better quality of life for the residents of the Merrimack Valley—thank you, Senator O’Connor Ives,” said Northern Essex Community College President, Lane Glenn.
Northern Essex partners with many local high schools, offering programs like the Early College Program, which are designed to be sure students are prepared to succeed in college. In addition to the four high schools that received the recent funding, Northern Essex has partnerships with Pentucket Regional High School; Triton Regional High School; Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School; Lawrence High School; Phoenix Academy, Lawrence; High School Learning Center, Lawrence; Notre Dame Cristo Rey, Lawrence; Sanborn Regional High School, and Timberlane Regional High School.