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Baker tours Marlborough High early college program

Baker tours Marlborough High early college program

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – High school juniors are getting a head start on their college education through a pathways initiative, a program Gov. Charlie Baker believes more high schools should implement.

Baker Tuesday visited Marlborough High’s English composition and psychology classes – both part of the high school’s Early College Pathways Program – engaged with students and lauded the initiative.

District leaders and officials from Quinsigamond Community College in 2015 formed a partnership allowing juniors to enroll in online and in-class courses where they can earn up to 12 college credits in a handful of four-year degree programs. Those credits also go toward high school graduation requirements.

Close to 100 juniors take college courses at the high school at no cost. All expenses – including fees, tuition and course materials – are covered through the Youth CareerConnect grant the district received.

“Here in Marlborough they’ve had a lot of success with this program,” Baker said after touring the school. “It’s something we should do more here in Massachusetts.”

Taking college-level courses while in high school allows students to see what skills are needed to be successful, determine if college is the right path for them, collect credits and make higher education more affordable, the governor said.

“The price tag is exactly right,” he told the students. “It’s a great opportunity for you.”

Participating in an early college initiative nearly doubles students’ chances of completing a four-year degree program, said Dan Riley, the district’s STEM director.

Meeting with students in Karen Bento’s English composition class, Baker said reading comprehension and analysis, critical thinking and writing critical are life skills that can be used in college. The students are reading and discussing William Giraldi’s “The Hero’s Body.”

“I would argue this is among the most important skill set you can develop,” said Baker, who majored in English in college. ”…Life is not 140 characters.”

The district also recently received a more than $343,000 grant from the 2018 Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant program through the Executive Office of Education to improve and expand its career training program.

The district is one of 32 across the state to receive funding, which will be used to purchase 3D printers, a computer-integrated manufacturing cell system, a CNC mill and lathe, a sensor training system and electrical driving training system.

The upgrades will provide new resources for the district’s Advanced Pathways Program – an offshoot of the Early College Pathways initiative – that provides students the opportunity to learn and apply transferable skills in growing industry sectors of advanced manufacturing, electronics, robotics and information technology.

Baker presented the grant to district officials at a ceremony last week.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.