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Mayor Bowser Announces New Partnership with Bard College

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and interim DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Amanda Alexander announced a new partnership between DCPS and Bard College that will provide students the opportunity to earn college credit and an associate degree from Bard College while earning their high school diploma. Opening in school year 2019-2020, Bard Early College High School will be a tuition-free, four-year, early college high school operated jointly by Bard College and DCPS.

“With Bard High School Early College, we are answering the community’s call for more early college options and building new pathways to college for our young people,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are committed to investing in and supporting programs that meet the needs of DC students and families, and we look forward to working with the community to open Bard High School Early College next school year.”

Students who attend Bard High School Early College will have the opportunity to graduate with an associate degree as well as 60 college credits that will be transferrable to four-year colleges and universities across the country. The school, which will be located in either Ward 7 or Ward 8, will open with a ninth grade cohort and an eleventh grade cohort, comprised of more than 150 students. The Bard curriculum includes a two-year pre-college sequence in the ninth and tenth grades and a college curriculum in the eleventh and twelfth grades. The admissions process at Bard will be unique; students will be admitted based on an essay and an interview, rather than test scores or grades.

“Bard High School Early College will be a game-changer for so many of our students and I look forward to welcoming Bard into the DCPS family,” said interim DCPS Chancellor Alexander. “I am excited to add a proven, high-quality option for our families to choose from as they make important decisions about their children’s future. Bard will undoubtedly add to our unique offerings as we continue to focus on putting our students on a path to success.”

During targeted community engagement last spring and summer, many families, educators, and civic leaders from Wards 7 and 8 expressed interest in a rigorous early college option for students. In the coming months, DCPS will seek community input to determine the exact site of the school.

Bard College has extensive experience operating early college high schools. The college first partnered with a public school system in 2001 when it began working with New York City. Today, Bard’s early college network serves more than 2,850 students in campuses in New York, Newark, Cleveland, New Orleans, and Baltimore. These campuses have seen strong success—in the Bard High School Early College Class of 2018, 83 percent of students earned an associate degree and 96 percent of students completed high school with over one year of college credit. Approximately 85 percent of Bard High School Early College students enroll in four-year colleges after graduation.

“We are delighted that DC Public Schools has chosen to partner with Bard College to establish this path-breaking early college high school in the nation’s capital,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “We are confident that our model, in which the first two years of college are integrated into the four-year high school curriculum, will succeed in this forward-looking school system. We look forward to working with DCPS and DC students and their families to provide meaningful new opportunities for students in DC to access and successfully complete college.”

College and Career Readiness

DCPS is committed to ensuring that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. Students across all DCPS high schools have the opportunity to take courses at colleges and universities across the city through the District’s dual enrollment program. DCPS students can also participate in one of 11 Career Academies in hospitality and tourism, engineering, information technology, public safety, and health sciences.

DCPS has an early college program at School Without Walls High School in Ward 2 and will also offer an early college option at the reimagined Coolidge High School in Ward 4 beginning next school year.

Families can apply for Bard High School Early College beginning December 10, 2018 at