By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Everett School Department’s Director of Special Education, Dr. Michael Baldassarre made a special presentation Monday night to the Everett School Committee, highlighting the district’s partnership with Bunker Hill Community College through the Gateway to College program, that has allowed BHCC to offer college preparation instruction to non-traditional EHS students, giving them the opportunity to earn college credit, even as they complete their high school diploma course work.
According to the presentation by Dr. Baldassarre, typical Gateway to College students have either been retained in a grade one or more times or have been identified as being substantially behind for their age. These students typically have not been successful in the traditional high school environment for a variety of reasons. Some of these students have had physical or mental health issues, legal issues family circumstances, relocation issues or other outside influences that have hindered them previously.
Through the Gateway to College program, these students have re0-engaged with learning and have begun to succeed, indeed, many of them are earning college credit, even as they complete their high school diplomas.
The program has allowed more flexible programming of coursework, access to Gateway College coordinators and resource specialists, as well as support with the outside issues that had previously hindered learning.
Additionally, the program has provided the students with connections to post-secondary education opportunity, essentially enrolling the students in college level classes as soon as they complete their diplomas.
Of the 31 EHS students enrolled in the program this year, 9 are young men and the other 22 are young women.
Also, 16 of the students are 17 years old, with six 16 year olds, 5 18 year olds and four students that are 19 or older. 14 of the students, almost one-half, have completed more than 80 hours of high school credits toward their diplomas and 27 of the students are earning college credit while earning their diplomas. 19 will be eligible to graduate EHS during this coming school year 2017-18, with 12 of those likely to graduate in December.
Additionally, 27 of the 31 students enrolled in the gateway to College program are in either their junior or senior years, with four students being former dropouts who have re-engaged.