Students » Taunton High School Early College

Taunton High School Early College

A high school early college program can significantly increase access, persistence, and completion of post-secondary work for underserved students in the city of Taunton for several key reasons:

Access to Higher Education: An Early College program can bridge the gap between high school and college by providing students with the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses while still in high school. This not only exposes them to the rigors of college academics but also familiarizes them with the college environment, resources, and expectations. For underserved students who might not have considered higher education due to various barriers, early access through these programs can demystify the college experience and make it more accessible.

Reduced Financial Barriers: Financial constraints often prevent underserved students from pursuing higher education. The Early College program, will reduce costs and alleviate the financial burden associated with college tuition fees. By earning college credits while in high school, students also can potentially shorten the duration of their college education, reducing overall costs.

Increased Persistence: Early exposure to college-level coursework helps students develop the necessary academic skills and confidence to succeed in higher education. By experiencing success in college classes during high school, students are more likely to persist in pursuing post-secondary education. Additionally, the support systems within early college programs, such as mentorship, counseling, and academic assistance, contribute to higher persistence rates. Taunton High School’s system of support for our Early College students will provide a gradual release of academic assistance and agency to ensure students achieve success with college rigor, 

Improved Completion Rates: Underserved students often face challenges that impact their ability to complete post-secondary education. The Early College program will equip students and families with the skills and knowledge necessary for a head start in college, increasing the likelihood of timely degree completion. This, in turn, leads to better career prospects and economic mobility for these individuals and our city. 

Cultural and Social Support: Many underserved students come from families where higher education is not the norm or where there may be cultural barriers to pursuing it. The Early College program will create a supportive environment that fosters a college-going culture alongside these families within our community. Families will have various opportunities throughout the year to come together with Taunton High staff to celebrate and support early college students. Additionally, exposure to college-level coursework alongside peers who share similar backgrounds and aspirations provides a sense of belonging and encouragement, fostering a supportive network that encourages the completion of postsecondary work.

By adding a robust early college program and tailoring it to address the specific challenges faced by underserved students, Taunton High School in partnership with Bristol Community College can lay a strong foundation for greater access, persistence, and completion of post-secondary education, ultimately leading to improved educational outcomes and socio-economic advancement of our students and the community of Taunton.

At Taunton High School, we are steadfast in our commitment to providing accessible and inclusive access to our Early College program. We intend to remove as many barriers to participation as possible. We will take a broad “open enrollment' approach for the program, meaning that both THS and Bristol Community College potentially view all THS students as "early college" students and that we recognize the urgency of targeting our recruitment efforts to the students and families that will benefit most from an Early College high school experience that propels as many students as possible to an associate's degree. However, we will insist on efforts that ensure that students earn at least 12 college credits as the goal and measure for success.

THS is eager and ready to address the issues of college access and success for those underrepresented in higher education, including Black and Hispanic students, especially males, as well as English Language Learners and students with special educational needs. By identifying students currently in 8th grade, targeted coursework and advisement will help deepen the pool of candidates from underrepresented groups. We will attempt to select and recruit candidates from our underrepresented groups for our Early College seats, and a lottery will be used if interest outweighs demand.

The Early College partners recognize the difference between enrollment in the program and enrollment in particular academic courses. The Early College students will have to meet minimum academic benchmarks set by the college to take specific courses, including math and English (see addendum document, Bristol Multiple Measures Policy). The college currently has multiple ways of measuring readiness in those subject areas and is interested in evolving the thinking and policies related to measuring readiness in specific subject areas. 

Bristol is committed to expanding access and ensuring success for our region's students. And THS is committed to guaranteeing that no students will be excluded from Early College based on current GPA, test scores, and past disciplinary records.

The core tenet of our enrollment philosophy is to ensure that students and their families are well-informed about the commitment to student success and the array of available supports. Applications become available in early December, and throughout the year, we organize recruitment events to engage with prospective students. Our outreach efforts are comprehensive, occurring every month to ensure that the opportunity is communicated widely.

We recognize the crucial role families play in a student's educational journey. To this end, we consider families as partners in education alongside students and educators. Our intention is not merely to educate students but to involve families in the holistic experience of the Early College journey. We believe in fostering a collaborative environment where families actively participate in the reflection, support, progress, and celebration aspects of their child's academic endeavor. To formalize this commitment, we host a special event known as Commitment Night, symbolizing the shared dedication to the educational journey.

The cornerstone of our Early College program is the provision of liberal arts coursework, ensuring that students partake in a diverse and enriching educational experience. What sets our program apart is the unique advantage it offers: the ability for Early College students to simultaneously enroll in existing Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways across various fields. This distinctive feature provides our students with unparalleled flexibility, allowing them to explore any career choice without being confined to a single pathway. Unlike traditional programs, our design empowers students to navigate diverse fields such as culinary, marketing, construction, childcare, medical, IT, business, CAD, and more. Taunton High School takes pride in the success of its CTE offerings, ensuring that Early College students have the opportunity to blend academic excellence with practical, real-world skills across a spectrum of professions.

Our commitment to student success extends beyond enrollment, and we recognize that circumstances may lead students to reconsider their participation in the Early College program. To ensure a smooth and supportive transition, we have established a seamless exit process. Whether a student decides to return to the traditional high school program or explore different educational pathways, our priority is to facilitate their journey with understanding and care.

Acknowledging that the Early College program may not suit every student, we respect individual choices regarding educational paths. Our role is to provide ample opportunities for reflection and support before students consider departing from the Early College program. Understanding the inherent rigor of the courses, we strive to address concerns related to workload and eliminate any fears that may lead to withdrawal.

To further support a seamless transition, we offer guidance counselor exit sessions for students wishing to leave the program. These sessions not only gather valuable feedback but also ensure that departing students are well-prepared to succeed in other courses at Taunton High School. Our ultimate goal is to support each student's unique journey, whether they choose to continue with Early College or explore alternative educational pathways.

In essence, our enrollment philosophy reflects our dedication to equity, family engagement, personalization, and the holistic development of students. We envision a learning environment where every student can thrive, fostering collaboration among the school, students, and their families.

Every Early College student is enrolled in a 9th and 10th Grade College Success Seminar class, as well as ongoing College Support Classes throughout their four-year academic journey. The purpose of these onramp and support classes, strategically integrated into their schedule, is to provide essential assistance and preparation for the challenges posed by college coursework. During the seminar block, students will receive teacher guidance, while the support class offers more independent and collaborative time. In their senior year, students take their final College Success Seminar class, designed to prepare them for the college application and financial aid process, as well as for interviews and the transition into the workforce.

Early College core teachers, along with support teachers, are dedicated to preparing students for the challenges of Early College coursework at Taunton High School. Our teaching professionals are committed to delivering a high-quality academic program that emphasizes both academic and social support. Through the development of action plans tailored to individual student needs, this initiative seeks to nurture role models and leaders who are well-equipped for college. The overarching goal is to foster a cohesive community that holds students accountable for their goals and empowers them to be dedicated, effective, and successful participants in their academic journey and future endeavors. This philosophy is shared by all Early College educators at the high school level, emphasizing a commitment to providing students with multiple opportunities for success and continuous improvement.

The on-ramping initial College Success Seminar class is carefully crafted to enhance students' academic journey, focusing on crucial skills like study habits and time management. Tailored for those who may be first-generation college students or face educational challenges, the program aims to create a structured and supportive learning environment, including educating students about accessing supports and exploring college and career options.

In subsequent College Success Seminars (10th and 12th) and College Support Classes (9-12), students actively engage in teacher-directed, individual, and tutor-led collaborative group work to address questions related to their college coursework. 

Emphasis is placed on key concepts like note-taking, effective writing, research strategies, presentation skills, test-taking strategies, study skills, time management, binder organization, and character development. Critical reading strategies are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum.

At the core of our belief is the foundation for Early College, ensuring all students become academically capable and aspire to attend college, especially those from underrepresented groups. Success and support classes actively encourage enrollment in challenging courses, providing comprehensive support for rigorous coursework, including organizational and study skills, critical thinking abilities, peer and college tutor assistance, and participation in motivational activities.

Every Early College student actively prepares a portfolio showcasing their year of work, allowing for a holistic evaluation of their development and accomplishments. This reflects our commitment to providing a well-rounded and supportive educational experience throughout the academic year.

One Goal: Support Class

The OneGoal course for high school juniors aims to make college a realistic and attainable post-high school option. The daily 45-minute lessons focus on an intensive college awareness curriculum and building academic behaviors. The course includes college entrance exam preparation to enhance college admissions options. The course goals include increasing selectivity, moving forward on the college pathway, and demonstrating college readiness. Topics covered include setting SMART goals, envisioning personal growth, evaluating colleges, exploring majors, understanding financial aid, and creating a 4-year graduation plan. The OneGoal course for seniors aims to support students as they embark on completing college applications, learning about financial aid, the overall admission process and enrollment. The class focuses on building college ready skills by completing units that mimic the course work that students will see when on a college campus.

Visit your guidance counselor to pick up an application. Taunton High School is in the application phase for Early College designation. Upon achieving designation students will be informed of their acceptance and upcoming outreach events.