Public schools introduce early college programs

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By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN—Providing students with the opportunity to earn two educational certifications in just four years, public school officials from Middletown, Keyport, and Wall meet up with Brookdale Community College representatives to announce the launch of new Early College High School programs.

The programs will allow eligible students in each district to earn a Brookdale associate degree by the time they graduate from high school, according to a prepared statement from Brookdale Community College.

During a ceremony, public school officials from each district and Brookdale representatives signed off on the programs on May 23 at the Brookdale Community College Wall campus Higher Education Center, located at 800 Monmouth Blvd.

Students will augment traditional high school coursework with advanced placement or college-level courses throughout their freshman, sophomore and junior years before becoming full-time college students at Brookdale’s Lincroft campus in their senior year. Successful graduates will finish high school ready to begin their junior year of college, according to an prepared statement.

Middletown Township Public School’s early college program the “Middletown Township Early College Academy” is being offered at both Middletown North High School and Middletown South High School.

Middletown Township Early College Academy is expected to admit an inaugural class of approximately 25 students each from Middletown North and Middletown South high schools in the fall. Students will have the option of earning an associate of arts degree in social sciences or an associate of science degree, according to a prepared statement.

“The Early College Academy is a tremendous academic opportunity for our high school students to receive college credits while still attending high school. This experience will provide both a financial and academic advantage for their continued education when the students transition to college and career,” William George III, the Middletown Township Public School superintendent said.

The early-college programs in Middletown and Wall will be the first in college history to offer students the option of an associate in science degree, according to a prepared statement.

Keyport Rising Stars Early College Academy is expected to welcome an inaugural class of 10 students in the fall. Students will attend Keyport High School during their freshman and sophomore years and begin studying at the college’s Hazlet location in their junior year. Rising Stars members will become full-time college students and complete their studies on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus in their senior year. Successful graduates will earn a Brookdale associate of arts degree in social sciences, according to a prepared statement.

“The Early College High School initiative has national roots back to 2002. The opportunity allows for students to earn a post secondary degree at the same time they graduate from Keyport High School. [The Academy] provides our students with an innovative opportunity while in high school in a supportive environment. It is our believe that our students will become part of the national average of students who are successful in a four year college experience after completing the program,” Lisa Savoia, Keyport School District superintendent said.

Savoia said that the school will continue to offer the program to future classes.

“The 2017 to 2018 school year begins our pilot year. The district will offer the opportunity for upcoming classes as well. Students who are not a part of the Rising Stars Academy will have the opportunity to take dual enrollment courses in their junior and senior years of high school,” Savoia said.

Savoia said that the school’s early college program will be financially beneficial to for students and their families.

“I am honored to be the superintendent of Keyport Public Schools. I believe it is the responsibility of the district to provide diverse instructional opportunities for our students. The Rising Stars Academy is an amazing example of such. Students and their families are faced with a struggling economy. Graduating from high school with the support of Keyport High School and Brookdale Community College with an associate degree benefits students from an academic and financial advantage. As a parent and the first in my family to graduate from college, I would have loved this opportunity,” Savoia said.

For more information about the Early College High School programs visit www.brookdalecc.edu or call 732-224-2345.

Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.