North Shore Community College is one of two community colleges in Massachusetts, and only three colleges in the state, to receive a prestigious federal, two-year $1,081,338 grant to expand dual enrollment/early college opportunities and to increase postsecondary education on the North Shore.
Funding comes from the federal Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE): Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE): Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) to provide more opportunities for students, particularly those impacted by COVID-19, to gain college experience, college course credit, and exposure to career pathways.
The new initiative will allow NSCC to expand its successful 15+ year Early College/Dual Enrollment (EC/DE) program to serve five additional areas of Peabody, Salem, Gloucester, Beverly and Revere, which currently have more students available for EC/DE than existing capacity. The program will provide access to high school juniors and seniors who are first-generation-to-college and/or are interested in exploring college academics in a supportive, academically challenging environment.
The program will feature after-school courses and a hybrid learning model during the school day through which students can earn up to 12 credits toward a certificate and/or degree in health professions, IT & computer science, and business. The model blends online learning with instructor class time, either face-to-face or through an online meeting platform. It will utilize Guided Academic Pathways and Enhanced Support to significantly increase student engagement while providing immediate and ongoing alerts, guidance and interventions to motivate students to achieve their academic and career goals.
Community-based organizations such as Wellspring House, Inc. will provide career and college readiness programming designed to bolster student success as they navigate their path to enrollment at NSCC. Partner organizations will work with students to support career exploration, career and college readiness, self-advocacy and resilience, and the college application process including FAFSA, scholarship opportunities, and overall planning for college expenses.
NSCC is the sixth largest comprehensive community college in Massachusetts. and an Early College leader, having administered a dual enrollment program with support from the MA Department of Higher Education for more than 10 years and earning state designation for its early college program with the Lynn Public Schools, a large urban system with a diverse student body.
“This FIPSE, IREPO, North Shore Early College Consortium (NSECC), Expanded Dual Enrollment Project will address the challenges faced by secondary school students whose access to college and career readiness opportunities have been threatened by COVID-19 and resulting disruptions and uncertainty,” said Dr. William Heineman, NSCC President.
“The program will provide new cohorts of high school/technical school students with the academic and support services they need to thrive in post-secondary education while building a stronger connection to a college-going culture,” he added.
Dianne Kelly Ed.D., Superintendent of Revere Public Schools, noted, “As Superintendent, I am confident that this dual enrollment project expansion will provide our students with identified pathways that support and enhance learning on a long-term basis. The flexible hybrid format and NSCC’s leadership in dual enrollment and early college programming will help the district successfully meet the needs of our students and support their academic success.”
Adam Cutler, NSCC’s Dean of Strategic Partnerships, will be the Project Director with support from Stacey Rogers, NSCC Coordinator of Early College. "I am excited to reach out to new districts for NSCC and serve more students. Early College is an excellent and valuable opportunity. It allows students to get an incredible experience of what college is all about and save a lot of money and time at the same time!" she noted.