- Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- James Peyser, Education Secretary
- Governor's Press Office
Media Contact for Lt. Governor Polito Highlights Early College Program in Holyoke
Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office
HOLYOKE — Lt. Governor Karyn Polito met with students at Holyoke High School today who are taking early college courses in order to be better prepared for college, while earning college credits at no cost before they graduate high school. The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to expanding the number of early college programs at school districts across the Commonwealth and has given grants and official designation status to nine programs, providing thousands of students’ opportunities to get a head start on a college degree.
Lt. Governor Polito observed a college composition course, and then met with a small group of Holyoke High students to learn about their experiences with early college classes. Early college programs combine traditional high school courses with college-level courses taught by faculty at a local community college or state university, typically in a particular career pathway such as STEM. Successful programs boost college completion rates for low-income students, minorities and first-generation college-goers.
At Holyoke High School, the Lt. Governor was joined by Education Secretary James Peyser, and Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeff Riley, along with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, Superintendent/Receiver Steve Zrike and Holyoke High School Principal Steve Mahoney.
Holyoke High School created partnerships with both Westfield State University and Holyoke Community College to establish its early college programs.
Westfield State University launched the “Westfield Promise” Early College program in the 2016-2017 school year, partnering with Holyoke, Springfield and Westfield school districts. Students in their junior year take two college courses at Holyoke High that are co-taught by a Westfield State professor and a Holyoke High teacher. In the students’ senior year, they take one course each semester on the Westfield State campus.
Holyoke Public Schools also launched another program in partnership with Holyoke Community College this year. Nearly 100 students will take one college course at Holyoke High as sophomores, then courses at the HCC campus as juniors. The goal is for them to graduate from high school with at least 12 transferable college credits.
“An important goal of the early college program is exposing students to college-level work while they are still in high school so they can envision themselves on a track toward a college degree,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “The college-level experience, combined with the credits they earn in the courses, sets many students up for success by the time they arrive on a campus.”
“Early College programs like the one at Holyoke High School provide many students with experience and knowledge in a field of study, often in STEM, that gives them some insight to make future decisions about majors and careers,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “When they get to college, students who took early college courses here have a pretty good idea about what they want to study.”
“By listening to the stories of these young people who are getting their first taste of college, you can hear how it has impacted their self-confidence and their vision of what their future can be,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.
Early College programs that receive designation meet certain criteria, including equitable access for all students, rigorous coursework, a guided academic pathway, connection to careers, enhanced support for students, and strong partnerships between high schools, community colleges and state universities.