When school begins on September 7, up to 100 Lynn Public Schools freshmen will begin their education at the new Early College High School (ECHS), a partnership between North Shore Community College and Lynn Public Schools. The ECHS is the first in the Commonwealth to be completely located on a college campus.
The ECHS will be housed in the modular building on NSCC’s Lynn campus and will have its own principal, guidance counselor, and nurse. Students will take all of their classes on the college campus from a mix of high school and college professors. Most classes will be held in the modular building but students will do their art, science lab and Understanding Higher Education classes in the college as well as eat in the college cafeteria.
Heather Fabiano was recently named Principal of the ECHS and will have an office on the college campus. “I am really excited for this opportunity to create something so beneficial for our students, their families and the community. It’s wonderful that students who may not have considered college can do their high school and college courses at the same time and walk away with one or two years of college or even an associate degree under their belts. It’s a huge saving of time and money and instills great confidence in our learners.”
Shannon Gardner, who directs early college programs for LPS, said the incoming freshman will be taking core content classes from high school teachers during 9th and 10th grade and will have the opportunity to take up to 12 credits of college electives each year. Both LPS and NSCC hope to expand the opportunity for students to take higher numbers of credits in the junior and senior years, with the goal of completing an associate degree.
NSCC has partnered with LPS on the development of early college programs since 2012 and shares a deep commitment to providing these opportunities. NSCC has dramatically increased its early-college enrollment over the past two years with the help of funding from the state and federal government. NSCC’s early-college program has grown from about 150 students in 2015, to more than 1,000 students in the past year. Approximately half of those students are from Lynn. Of the 11 school districts NSCC works with, the college has a deeper relationship with Lynn.
The Commonwealth recently awarded $200,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, administered by the federal government to the state education department, to the partnership.
The ultimate goal at the new ECHS is for students to graduate with a high school diploma and many credits towards an associate degree from the tuition-free program. Target student populations are first-generation, low-income and English language learners.
"The evidence is clear that most professions will require some kind of post-secondary education in the near future. Early College is a proven contributor to increased high school graduation rates, college attendance rates, and college completion rates. It is a game changer for communities with lower college attainment rates and, even better, it works to reduce equity gaps in education outcomes between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and income levels,” said NSCC President Dr. William Heineman. “That is why the ECHS is so exciting and why NSCC is so committed to partnering with LPS on pioneering new models for Early College in the Commonwealth."
The number of students enrolled at the new school will gradually increase each year, by virtue of a new freshman class attending. In four years, there will be 400 students enrolled — 100 per grade — with the initial freshman class set to graduate.
“I have big dreams for the ECHS and I’m dedicated to making this as successful as possible. I’d love to see a dedicated building that could house all four years and better integrate the high school scheduling to mirror college schedules,” Fabiano added.