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Mount Everett Regional High School (MERHS), partnering with Simon’s Rock at Bard College (SRBC) has been awarded Early College designation by the Early College Joint Committee. MERHS is further expanding their innovative opportunities available to high school students in the region with a vision of increased access to college. 

“Too often, we hear about students who think earning a degree is out of their reach. As educators, we need to think like entrepreneurs and find ways to engage these students every day. In earning an Early College Designation, we’re providing new pathways and experiences for Mount Everett students while they are still in high school,” said Dr. Beth Regulbuto, Superintendent of Southern Berkshire Regional School District. “Developing opportunities like this can open students’ futures up to greater opportunities than have been available previously in this part of the state.” 

In their awarding of the grant to fund this program, the Early College Joint Committee described Mount Everett’s program as “first of its kind” and “ground-breaking.” The program will encompass grades 8 through 12 and every student will participate in the experiential phases of the program, including course instruction and college campus visits for all grade 9 and 10 students. The program will also accommodate 100% of students in college credit-bearing courses. Because empowering students to make their own decisions is a key to their future success, MERHS and SRBC aim to have at least 80% of students taking tuition-free, credit-earning Early College courses by the time the program is fully built out.

“Mount Everett’s Early College program with Simon’s Rock at Bard College will help students solidify future plans, reduce the financial burdens and barriers, and increase their confidence in their own futures,” continued Regulbuto.

Credit-bearing program offerings at MERHS will include the courses frequently required by colleges, such as Literature, Composition, and Mathematics, as well as college courses that will introduce students to a variety of academic disciplines. College courses offer opportunities for students to explore potential interests and career paths and align with guided pathways at MERHS (such as STEM, liberal arts, the fine arts, and global studies).

The purpose of the Early College Initiative grant is to create and maintain partnerships that connect our state’s districts and high schools with our state’s colleges, in order to give thousands of Massachusetts students access to college completion and career success. By exposing students at a younger age, to college-level learning, motivation to persist in college-level work will increase. As a result, students who may have previously identified as not intending to go to college will experientially learn that they are able to do college-level work. 

“Now that we officially have the designation, we can update our Program of Studies,” said Regulbuto. “Students will be able to hit the ground running with course selection this spring and be ready for Early College at Mount Everett in the fall.”

For more information about Early College Designation you can visit: https://www.mass.edu/strategic/earlycollege.asp