Harlem Children’s Zone and Bard College partner to launch innovative early college program

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Harlem Children’s Zone and Bard College have partnered to create the Bard Early College at the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Promise Academy. This new early college program will provide high school students in Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy charter schools the opportunity to take undergraduate seminars taught by college professors and to earn tuition-free Bard College credits. The goals of this educational partnership, located at the HCZ Promise Academy, are to improve students’ college readiness by focusing on high-level analytical writing, critical thinking, and communication skills and to increase college persistence and completion rates among HCZ Promise Academy students.

Beginning in fall, 2013, the Bard Early College at the HCZ Promise Academy’s initial phase will enroll a cohort of 9th and 10th grade HCZ Promise Academy students in a precollege course of study. In the 11th and 12th grades, participating students will take college courses across the liberal arts and sciences. Once at full scale, the early college program will offer HCZ Promise Academy students the opportunity to earn up to one year of tuition-free Bard College credit concurrently with their high school diploma. Modeled on Bard’s other highly successful public early college programs (Manhattan, Queens, Newark, and New Orleans), the Bard Early College at the HCZ Promise Academy’s curriculum supports an academically rigorous liberal arts program aimed to intellectually engage a diverse group of high school students and better prepare them for success in college. Kristy McMorris, a Bard Early College faculty member who holds a Ph.D. from New York University in Comparative Literature, has been appointed the program’s inaugural Academic Director.

As a part of the partnership, Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking will provide professional development to HCZ Promise Academy teachers. This professional learning opportunity will allow teachers to engage all HCZ Promise Academy students with the writing-centered practices at the core of Bard’s early college curriculum.

“The goal of everything we do is to get kids successfully through college,” said Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone. “So I am thrilled we can give some of our students a chance to get an early start on developing the discipline and self-reliance necessary for college-level work. Bard is leading the country both as a thought leader and as a practitioner in providing the strategic pathways necessary for success in today’s challenging educational environment.”

“Bard College is proud to partner with Harlem Children’s Zone, which is a terrific model for the nation,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Our own experience with dual enrollment and early college high school programs offers us a unique opportunity to focus on the mission of helping young people complete high school and college. We are excited and honored to pursue this goal in collaboration with the Harlem Children’s Zone.”

Founded in 1860, Bard College is an independent four-year college of the liberal arts and sciences located in Annandale, NY. Bard College joined the early college movement in 1979, when Simon's Rock – the country’s first private, residential early college – merged with Bard. Since establishing the first Bard High School Early College in 2001, Bard has built a record of success in developing tuition-free, public-private early college partnerships. The Bard Early Colleges - in operation in New York City, Newark, NJ, and New Orleans, LA - offer students a rigorous, credit-bearing college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences during the four years of high school at no cost to the student. Founded in 1970, Harlem Children's Zone is a nonprofit organization that offers a unique, interconnected network of services that are aimed at breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves in Central Harlem. Services provided include, but are not limited to: parenting workshops, early childhood education, after school and youth development programs, health and wellness services, and college preparation and counseling. The Harlem Children's Zone runs two charter schools - Promise Academy I and Promise Academy II.

The Harlem Children's Zone is a national model for education reform. http://www.hcz.org