MA Early College Community of Practice

in partnership with

Notes from the MA Director of Early College Programs

Designation Timeline SY2022-23

The Commonwealth is pleased to once again offer its local secondary education agencies and institutions of higher education the opportunity to obtain formal designation for Early College Programs. Designed collaboratively by the EOE, DESE, and DHE, MA Early College Program Designation will entail a two-step process (“Part A” and “Part B”). By April 13, 2022, a comprehensive designation timeline will be posted, including links to SY23 Part A application and Letter of Intent.

Early College Program Designation Application Companion Document 2022 
This companion document is designed to provide important information on the Designation process and requirements, as well as context for the criteria to be met under each of the five Guiding Principles. The Early College Readiness Checklist  is a resource for prospective Early College partners to guide their pre-planning for the Designation application process.

Designation Timeline

  • April 13, 2022 — Part A Application and Letter of Intent available online.
    For more information about the components of the Application, please review the Part A Designation guidance in the Designation Companion document . Download the Word Document of the Part A Application .

  • April 14, 2022 — Early College Designation Orientation (note: this event will also be offered on May 4, 2022). 9:30 AM. Register here: Early College Designation Orientation 2022-2023

  • April 26, 2022 — Early College Spring Convening, including information session on applying for SY2023 Designation. Register here: 2022 MA ECP Spring Convening Registration

  • May 4, 2022 — Early College Designation Orientation (note: this event was also offered on April 14, 2022). 9:30 AM. Register here: Early College Designation Orientation 2022-2023

  • June 17, 2022 — “Nuts and Bolts” of Early College Designation Part A — Register here: “Nuts and Bolts” of Early College Designation Part A Application

  • Summer 2022 — Office hours and individualized technical assistance available, as well as an applicant professional learning series on the Guiding Principles. Coming soon: session topics, dates, and registrations links.

  • August 2022 — Part A Applications Due

  • September 2022 — Announcement of Applicants advancing to Part B. Part B application sent directly to applicants.

  • October 2022 — Early College Designation Part B Application Webinar

  • December 2022 — Part B Applications due

  • February 2023 — Designation recommendations reviewed by the Early College Joint Committee

Additional Resource

NS4Ed, in partnership with the MA Early College staff, has created a resource site to support the Early College community of practice. Visit MA Early College to learn more.

If you are seeking additional information on Early College, please contact the Early College Program Director at .

Annual Reporting and Informational Webinar

This summer annual report will be required. On June 23, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.,  we will hold an informational webinar for Designated Early College programs to learn more about the 2020-2021 Annual Report and submission process. After the presentation there will be an opportunity for Q&A.

This webinar will be recorded and sent to all registered attendees. 

Designation Timeline and Webinar

Designation Webinar and PowerPoint (May 11, 2021)

▪ May 3rd: Application and Companion Document available online
▪ June 30th: Letter of Intent due
▪ Summer 2021: Office hours and TA
▪ August 27th: Part A applications due
▪ October 2021: Announcement of applicants moving onto Part B,
application sent to applicants directly
▪ December 2021: Part B Applications due
▪ Winter 2021-2022: Interviews held
▪ March 16, 2021: Recommendations for Designation made to ECJC

Accelerated Designation Timeline and Webinar

  • February 22, 2021 – Part A and Part B released
  • February 26, 2021 – Accelerated Designation information webinar to be held. Click HERE to register.
  • April 26, 2021 – Part A and Part B Accelerated Designation Surveys Due (Please note, review of the Part B Application is contingent upon approval of the submitted Part A application.)
  • June 2021 – Accelerated Designation recommendations reviewed by the Early College Joint Committee

Early College and Innovation Pathways Data Webinar on Student Enrollment to be held March 1

On March 1, 2021, from 1-2 pm, DESE staff will present a webinar on capturing student enrollment in Innovation Pathways and Early College programs. DESE staff will offer updates about required data elements (SIMS and SCS) and answer questions from you about these expectations. Efforts continue to secure a sustainable funding source, and accurate counts are critical to supporting your programs. Attendance is highly recommended.

To receive login information, please register via We strongly encourage a member of both your district’s data team and program staff participate as we attempt to collect the most accurate data possible for March SIMS and beyond as these reports are used to attempt to secure a sustainable funding source and are publicly reported.

**While we strongly encourage “live” participation, we understand how busy you are. This webinar will be recorded so you can share with other colleagues and revisit it at your convenience.**

Increasing FAFSA Completion - Two Webinars Announced

For last year’s seniors, enrollment in higher education dropped by 10 percent this past fall compared to the previous year, and by 20 percent among economically disadvantaged students. COVID is clearly exacerbating already persistent college going gaps, particularly for low income, African American and Latino students.

For this year’s seniors, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion has dropped compared to this time last year by over 9 percent statewide, with larger drops in populations with historically low college going rates. FAFSA completion is a strong indicator of college-going, and this drop may be an early indication of further drops in college enrollment in September 2021.

Overcoming the financial barrier to higher education is critical. To help mitigate this potential crisis in college going, DESE, in partnership with Mass. Dept. of Higher Education, Mass. School Counselors Assn. (MASCA), Reach Higher, and GEARUP are sponsoring two FAFSA completion webinars to help illustrate the FAFSA completion situation, demonstrate FAFSA reports on Edwin Analytics, and hear from a few practitioners to explain how they are “getting it done” despite the pandemic.

While these sessions are particularly aimed at high school counselors and district and high school administrators, all are welcome.  Please register ahead of time for one of the sessions available. These sessions will be offered via Zoom. After registering at one of the links below, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

When: Feb 9, 2021 03:00 PM

Register in advance for this meeting:

When: Feb 10, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

Review of the Data Collection

View the Review of the Early College Data Collection Webinar by clicking HERE
The accompanying PowerPoint presentation can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Highlight your Early College Program and student experiences through a video share for the Spring Early College Convening. Videos can be organized as
group interviews, individual interviews, etc. Videos can be centered on any of the general questions below (programs can adapt language.) Click HERE for more details. Download fillable release form by clicking HERE.

OPTIC Content Fellows Application Now Open

DESE is convening a group of educators with expertise in culturally responsive practice to establish benchmark scores and exemplars of written feedback for teaching videos on the OPTIC professional learning platform (Online Platform for Teaching and Informed Calibration).  OPTIC uses video-based observations to engage educators in collaborative discussions to calibrate on perceptions of great teaching. As content experts and skilled practitioners in culturally responsive practice, OPTIC Content Fellows will provide MA educators with important reference points as they engage in ongoing reflection and discussion about great teaching. Content Fellows will also support the development of a ‘look-for’ tool focused on observable elements of culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching. Fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend for their work. To apply, nominate an educator, or learn more, visit the application by Monday, December 28th. Contact with any questions.

InSPIRED Fellowship Application Now Open

The Department is now accepting applications for the third cohort of InSPIRED Fellows. This opportunity is for current educators with close connections to their school communities and the ability to help current and prospective educational leaders understand the impact of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and multiracial educators on PK-12 students. Fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend for successful completion of projects. To learn more information or apply, visit the InSPIRED Fellows application by December 14th. Please contact with any questions.

My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) Professional Development Series

Registration is now open for My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) Professional Development Series. The three-workshop series is designed for small teams of four high school staff led by counselors and including teachers and administrators. Teams will design and implement high quality college and career advising (CCA) in combination with a process for individual, student-driven academic and career planning (MyCAP). The resulting CCA framework will clearly integrate the three domains of college and career readiness – Academic, Personal/Social/Emotional, and Workplace Readiness – to ensure student success in high school, in a postsecondary pathway and in life. To learn more about the professional development series and to register, click here

Designation Process Update - July 2020

The Early College Joint Committee has determined to halt the launch of a new Early College Designation cycle for 2020-2021.  Those programs who have already begun seeking Designation in the 2019-2020 cycle will be allowed to continue that process.  Please direct any questions to Kristin Hunt, Early College Program Director at

Communication Regarding Hybrid Models - May 2020

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 update regarding hybrid programs and designation.