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Press Release

Bard College Awarded $450,000 Grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation to Support the Bard High School Early College Program

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College has received a three-year grant of $450,000 from the Booth Ferris Foundation to study the impact of the Bard High School Early College program model on closing achievement gaps in terms of college success and completion rates. The research will focus on sustainable best practices that can be replicated nationally to help secondary school students succeed in rigorous academic programs, regardless of their middle school preparation. The “early college” model has emerged as an innovative approach to bridging the gap between secondary school and college and helping traditionally under-represented, at-risk students succeed in obtaining a college degree. The results of the evaluation will be analyzed and presented at a national conference to be hosted by the Booth Ferris Foundation, Bard College, the Bard High School Early Colleges, and others. The goal is to create a national dialogue on what works to increase secondary-school graduation rates and the percentages of low-income and first-generation college students who successfully pursue postsecondary education opportunities.


About the Bard High School Early Colleges

Bard College has proven since 2001 that when underrepresented high school students participate in an early college experience, as best exemplified by the Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) model, the impact is stunning: 95% of BHSEC graduates enroll in four-year degree programs with college credits. The first Bard High School Early College opened in September 2001 as a partnership between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), with the mission of better preparing public school students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in the nation’s best colleges and universities. BHSEC became one of the first public early college high schools in the nation and the only one with a two-year, college degree-bearing liberal arts program embedded within a four-year, tuition-free public high school. BHSEC graduates earn both an associate in arts degree from Bard College and a New York State (NYS) Regents diploma. In 2008, a second BHSEC opened in Queens, New York and in 2011 a third opened in Newark, New Jersey. BHSEC provides classes that are relatively small for a public high school, with a curriculum that is hands-on, connected to real-world topics, and deeply rooted in the liberal arts. Seventy-five percent of the BHSEC faculty members have a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field. All college-level courses are taught by college faculty, as are most of the high school classes. Through these practices, BHSEC eliminates the gap that typically exists between high school and college coursework. Key to BHSEC’s success is a built-in, college-going culture. Intellectual accomplishment is respected, and imagination and discipline are inspired. Student support services, such as a Learning Center and a College Transfer Office, “level the playing field” for those coming to the school from low-performing middle schools.


About the Booth Ferris Foundation

The Booth Ferris Foundation was established in 1957 under the wills of Willis H. Booth and his wife, Chancie Ferris Booth.  One of the Foundation's primary interests is in the field of education, including smaller colleges and public education initiatives in New York City. The Foundation also makes grants in the areas of civic and urban affairs and culture in New York City. The Foundation primarily funds capital and capacity building projects.

Contact: Ms. Erin K. Hogan, Vice President









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This event was last updated on 10-11-2011