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College and Career Readiness

Massachusetts High Quality College and Career Pathways Initiative

The Commonwealth has launched a High Quality College and Career Pathways initiative that will serve as an overarching strategy for significantly expanding student access to high-quality career pathways.

There are two new types of pathways for this effort: Early College and Innovation. While more specific sets of characteristics define each pathway, both are anchored in the five guiding principles defined in the Massachusetts Early College Designation - Preliminary Outline of Key Elements: equitable access, guided academic pathways, enhanced student support, connection to career, and effective partnerships.

Online Submission Portals for Early College and Innovation Pathways Final Designation Materials

Early College and Innovation Pathways applicants advancing to the final application phase of the designation process in Winter 2018 are to submit materials electronically by 5:00 pm on Friday, February 9.

Early College

Innovation Pathways

As a reminder, please ensure no any individual student level data is included in your submissions.

Early College

To learn more about Early College programs, review the Early College Criteria Download Word Document, finalized by the Early College Joint Committee (ECJC) and the Boards of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Higher Education in June 2017.

Presentation on Early College Designation Process and Criteria Download PowerPoint File

Innovation Pathways

To learn more about Innovation Pathways, review the Innovation Pathway Criteria Download Word Document.

Presentation on Innovation Pathway Designation Process and Criteria Download PowerPoint File

Pathway Designation Process and Timeline - AY2017-2018

The Commonwealth is offering its local education agencies and institutions of higher education the opportunity to obtain formal designation for these two types of pathways. Designed collaboratively by the EOE, DESE, and DHE, pathway designation will entail a two-step process ("preliminary" and "final"), as follows:

  • September 8, 2017
    • Early College non-binding letter of intent due
    • Innovation Pathways non-binding letter of intent due
  • September 27, 2017

  • October

    • Review Preliminary Designation Applications

    • The RFP will be judged on impact and quality

  • By November 1- Preliminary Designations announced

    • Applicants notified of possible funding and advance to Final Designation phase

    • Receiving a Preliminary Designation will allow the applicant to apply for a Final Designation.

  • November/December

    • Staff conduct Final Designation information sessions

  • February 9, 2018 - Final Designation Application due electronically

  • March 2018

    • ECJC convenes to review Final Designation Application summaries and interagency working group recommendations for EC programs; Commission of ESE reviews recommendations for IP.

    • Final Designation conferred in April

Frequently Asked Questions Download Word Document

If you are seeking additional information on the designation process, please email

Last Updated: February 2, 2018
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