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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on Early College Initiative

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Higher Education
From:
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Carlos E. Santiago, Ph.D., Commissioner, Department of Higher Education
Date:
January 12, 2018

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Background

At our joint meeting on January 24, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Board of Higher Education (BHE) discussed and voted on a joint resolution to establish a formal early college designation process and establish an Early College Joint Committee (ECJC) to oversee both the development of criteria and the application process for designating Massachusetts Early College programs. The ECJC includes James Peyser, Secretary of Education; Chris Gabrieli, Chair, Board of Higher Education; Paul Sagan, Chair, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; Margaret McKenna, Member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; Paul Toner, Member of the Board of Higher Education; Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) (non-voting); and Carlos Santiago, Commissioner, Department of Higher Education (DHE) (non-voting).

Development and Approval of Early College Designation Process and Criteria

Subsequent to the January 2017 joint board meeting, a working group was formed consisting of staff members from DESE, DHE, and the Executive Office of Education (EOE). The ECJC met twice in spring 2017 to review and provide feedback to the working group on the draft criteria, process, and timeline for designation. Consistent with the joint resolution, the Early College Program Designation Process and Criteria, as recommended by the ECJC, was finalized by both the BHE and BESE at their respective meetings in June 2017.

Early College Designation Process

In July 2017 the DHE and DESE launched a two-step process for districts and postsecondary institutions to obtain formal designation for Early College programs. Preliminary applications for the Early College Program Designation and an optional competitive funding opportunity were due on September 27, 2017. The departments received 33 submissions from applicant partners. Upon recommendation of a review team comprised of staff from the DHE, ESE, and EOE, 21 Early College applicants were invited to move to the next stage of the designation process. In addition, planning grants of $10,000 each to support the work of competitively selected applicants have been awarded to nine Early College applicants. Those grants were funded with dollars from the Performance Incentive Fund (a DHE line item), the New Skills for Youth Grant, and the STEM Pipeline Fund (appropriated to the Governor's STEM Advisory Council).

On December 13, 2017, applicants who advanced in the process and were invited to submit a final application for designation attended a convening featuring a keynote by Secretary Peyser and staff-led technical assistance sessions regarding the requirements to receive designation. Another round of competitive funding for implementation is available through the final application process.

In early January 2018, staff from the DHE, ESE, and EOE are providing support for partnerships that will be submitting a final application for designation, through web-based technical assistance sessions. Final applications to receive an Early College Program Designation and implementation grant funding are due by February 9, 2018. The ECJC will convene in the early spring to review staff recommendations and confer Early College Program Designations on those applicants who meet the criteria.

At our joint meeting on January 23, 2018, representatives from ESE and DHE will provide a brief update on the Early College initiative and respond to your questions.

 

Enclosures:

 
Massachusetts Early College Program Designation Process and Criteria
Download PDF Document
Massachusetts Early College Designation Preliminary Phase Decisions


Last Updated: January 17, 2018
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