MA Early College

Early College Program News

Report: Early College High School Is Changing Students’ Lives and Futures in Lawrence, Massachusetts 

See the recent report released by Job for the Future on the Early College Program in Lawrence.

Early College Promise Video

View the video shared at the September 15 Early College Joint Committee Meeting to hear students talking about the Early College Promise Program.

Enhancing the Impact of the Build Back Better Act: Integrating College in High School Programs

The College in High School Alliance shared a set of recommendations that were released by a group of national advocates September 14, 2021 on ways in which college in high school programs like dual enrollment and early college can be integrated into President Biden’s American Families Plan and the funding package Democrats are currently considering in the House and Senate to implement it.

The primary recommendations by the groups – including the Alliance for Excellent Education, Education Reform Now, Empower Schools, JFF, KnowledgeWorks, NACEP, and Unidos US – are to:

  1. Include dual enrollment programs in plans to offer two years of free community college..
  2. Increase college retention and completion rates.
  3. Help current teachers earn in-demand credentials.

The House and Senate are currently in the middle of assembling their funding packages, and will be using a congressional procedure known as “reconciliation” to pass a number of President Biden’s priorities using only Democratic votes.

Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) . (2021). Enhancing the impact of the build back better act integrating college in high school programs. Alliance For Excellent Education. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from

Highlighting the Importance and Success of Early College Programs in Massachusetts

Several recent publications highlight the importance and success of early college programs in Massachusetts:

Early College as a Force for Equity in the Post-Pandemic Era

In this Discussion Paper published by MassINC in April 2021, a strong case is made for a major effort to expand access to Early College. As stated in the introduction, “Leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors have unanimously come out in favor of bold change to combat structural inequality in our post-pandemic commonwealth. Any meaningful response to this call to action must target wide and growing college completion gaps.”

Click HERE to access the report. 

Early College in the News

Early College a Proven Winner for Students, State: Massachusetts Should Consider Scaling Up the Initiative

Early college programs, in which high school students take college courses that offer credit toward both a high school diploma and a college degree, present a scalable education model that meets the needs of historically underserved young people by leveraging the assets of our state’s higher education system. These programs ultimately reduce the time and cost of degree completion while giving young people the confidence to succeed in college.

Read the February 21 article by Jennifer Davis Carey and Chris Gabriele in the Commonwealth Magazine by clicking HERE.

Early College Catching On, But Not Immune from Pandemic Impacts

BOSTON (SHNS) – Enrollment in early college programs in Massachusetts has continually increased over the past three years, even while the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many teenagers’ post-high school planning into flux.

Data presented to state education officials Thursday showed a total of 2,864 students enrolled in early college programs in 2021, up from 2,512 last year and 1,140 in 2019.

Read the February 18 article by Katie Lannan, State House News Service, by clicking HERE.

Merrimack’s Early College Program Expands Opportunities for Underserved Students

Merrimack College’s Early College program offers educational opportunities to students attending Lawrence High School.

Merrimack is one of 19 colleges and universities in Massachusetts offering disadvantaged high-school students the opportunity to earn free college credits while still in high school. These programs work to address educational equity and economic recovery.

Read the February 19 article in The Beacon, Merrimack’s student-run news organization by  HERE.

New WWC Webinar: Evidence-based instructional practices for in-person and remote learning

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) just released a pre-recorded webinar on how the WWC practice guides and other resources can support educators in using evidence-based instructional practices for instruction in any setting, including remote learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are facing an unprecedented situation with many schools delivering some or all instruction remotely. WWC resources like practice guides remain relevant to educators even as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way instruction is delivered.

This webinar includes the following:

  • An overview of WWC practice guides, including their structure and content, and supplemental resources drawn from practice guides, such as instructional tips for educators, tips for parents and caregivers, practice guide summaries, and infographics
  • A discussion of evidence-based practices in the practice guides that can be adapted for a remote learning setting, drawing on examples from five new WWC infographics on remote instruction in math, reading, and writing in elementary and secondary classrooms

Given the heightened demands on educators’ time this school year, the webinar has been prerecorded so it is available to listen to when convenient. The webinar is available on the WWC website:

Additional resources (such as the full library of practice guides and five recent infographics on using evidence-based practices in remote learning settings) are also available for free on the WWC website.

The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics.


Five-part Webinar series on Pre-Employment Transition Services

You are invited to the 5 part Webinar series on Pre-Employment Transition Services hosted by The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC), and The National Transition Technical Assistance Center (NTACT):

This series of pre-recorded webinars highlights the five required pre-employment transition services. Each of the five webinars include curricula/activities, state spotlights, examples of expected outcomes and ways to identify student progress, tips for successful service delivery, and additional supports and resources that may be used to provide these services for students with disabilities. The webinars are hosted by The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC), and The National Transition Technical Assistance Center (NTACT).

Closed Captioning will stream during each of the pre-recorded webinars. A copy of the transcript is also available upon request. Presentation materials are available for download once registered. Please be sure to complete the evaluation located in the Web links pod in the Adobe room. CRC credits (1.5) will be awarded upon completion and submission of your evaluation.

To register and view this recorded webinar, please visit the following link(s) to each webinar:

Admissions Officers Should Look at Career and Technical High Schools

“Career and Technical high school students make great college students,” write early college colleagues, Tia Gerber and Russ Olwell. Their article, recently featured in Inside Higher Ed, highlights vocational education and the direct links to higher education. Alyssa Davis, alumna, is a co-writer.

Tia Gerber currently serves as the Director of Community Partnerships at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Russ Olwell is the Associate Dean of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College.

Thank you for joining us for the Summer Leadership Series. If you missed any sessions, view the videos and PowerPoint presentations by clicking links below.

Early College High School/Dual Enrollment 2.0: Evidence-Based Approaches to Engage Youth and Families for Educational, Career, and Community Development

Using an evidence-based approach, programs being launched now by colleges and universities focus on the core missions of early college and dual enrollment programs, connecting youth less likely to attend college directly out of high school with powerful programming that propels them towards successful completion of degrees and to the start of their career. This article presents perspectives from a range of institutions (high school, two-year institutions, four-year institutions, and philanthropic investors) that are rethinking these models to maximize community impact and affordability to students and families.  This is based on experience in Massachusetts statewide, as well as at Merrimack College and at Bristol Community College. The journal was very interested in Massachusetts’ efforts in this area, and in the efforts to create a truly equitable system for early college from the start!

DESE Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance

DESE is providing initial guidance for school reopening this fall that prioritizes getting students back to school in person—safely, following a comprehensive set of health and safety requirements. At the same time, DESE is requiring each district and school to also plan for remote learning and a hybrid school model, a combination of in-person and remote learning, should local conditions change this fall or winter.

Respond. ReImagine. Restart. ASCD Conference

ASCD’s Annual Conference will be held virtually this year and it’s FREE to attend! Join thousands of your peers to discuss strategies and solutions for the challenges educators will face in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Communication Regarding Hybrid Models

Since the initial pause on hybrid delivery took place, the world has undergone a dramatic transformation involving remote learning.  Given the unexpected experience our programs have had to develop around online delivery and support of college credits to high school students, please read the statement regarding hybrid programs and designation. 


Upcoming Webinar

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) and State Higher Education Exective Officers Association (SHEEO) invite you to participate in a webinar examining dual enrollment funding models in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thinking Ahead: Designing State Dual Enrollment Funding Models Following COVID-19      Presented by: SHEEO, NACEP, and College in High School Alliance  – June 10, 2020 | 1:00 pm EST 

Salute to Early College Students

An editorial by Nancy Hoffman, Senior Advisor with Jobs for the Future (JFF), saluting early college students in Massachusetts was published by The Boston Globe on Friday. June 5, 2020.

Free Virtual Conference

Jobs for the Future’s Annual Conference will be held virtually this year from June 8-11. Free of charge, visit the homepage for the Horizons: Designing a Future That Works Conference to register and sign up for sessions of interest.