Several Dutchess County school districts have already registered students for a new Dutchess BOCES program that will give students a chance to earn up to 26 credits at Bard College after two years.
The half-day Bard Early College Program will be housed at the Career and Technical Institute, Deputy Superintendent Cora Stempel said. The history and humanities classes offered will meet the New York State ELA and U.S. History requirements and will help students prepare for the Regents exam. Electives will vary but may include art history, creative writing, environmental sciences and psychology.
“We have 10 to 17 students confirmed already,” she said, adding that the maximum capacity in the first year was two classes. The program is offered at no cost to the students; districts join a COSER in order to enroll students.
The pathway to the new partnership began when superintendents from Red Hook and Rhinebeck expressed interest in having students attend the program, which in recent years has been offered in Hudson, New York. Transportation costs were prohibitive and since Bard College is based in Dutchess County, it made sense to talk about starting a program at BOCES.
By establishing this partnership, Dutchess BOCES has expanded college access to more students, said Stempel who already had a strong connection with Bard from her time working in the Hyde Park Central School District. “I feel strongly that you should never walk into a public school without seeing a college professor,” she said.
Bard isn’t the only college BOCES partners with.
For the last two years, Marist College students studying to become teachers have taken a college course at Salt Point Center two days a week. Once a week they are paired with a BOCES teacher who acts as a mentor to them while they spend time in classrooms with the Salt Point Center students gaining valuable hands-on experience.