News 2023: UMass Dartmouth partners with local high schools

News 2023: UMass Dartmouth partners with local high schools
UMass Dartmouth partners with local high schools

From remote lectures to campus visits, local students find a supportive early college pathway through the Commonwealth Collegiate Academy program.

Brockton High School students joined UMassD students in class during a campus visit.

Providing educational opportunities

Among the many ways UMass Dartmouth serves the community is our commitment to providing pathways to college for local students. The Commonwealth Collegiate Academy (CCA), which gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to receive college credit at no cost, is an example of this.

With four tracks—art, business, liberal arts, and STEM—available, students can explore a wide range of interests. Topics covered this semester include sustainable design for interior architecture & design, medical microbiology, abnormal psychology, and more.

CCA classes count for both high school and college credits and, depending on how many they take, students can earn over 30 transferable credits—enough for a full year of college.

Mardochee Dominique '27, a business management major, participated in CCA while at Brockton High. Because of the credits she earned, she started her first year at UMassD with a lighter course load and already having a 4.0 GPA.

“I was able to take on other responsibilities, join more clubs, and meet people,” she said, noting how it made the transition from high school to college easier. “My journey with the early college program was a great experience because it allowed me to challenge myself as a high school student.”

portrait of Brockton High students Yanckee Deleón and Catherine Moyes
Yanckee Deleón (left) and Catherine Moyes (right), two current Brockton High students participating in Commonwealth Collegiate Academy

A unique partnership

In the year since the grant-funded program began through the UMass President’s Office, UMassD has partnered with five local high schools and enrollment has nearly tripled to 200 students.

What sets CCA apart from other early college programs is the support system students have as they move through the program. University faculty provide remote instruction via lectures, and students are supported by a partner teacher in the high school classroom.

“The program aligns very well with our academic core mission to provide educational opportunities to students here on the Southcoast and beyond,” said Dr. Traci Almeida, coordinator of the early college programs at UMassD.

UMassD first-year student Briana Jure '27, psychology, took a leadership and management class through the program last year. “It gave me the opportunity to learn about management and teamwork, and I think that’s very valuable going into college,” she said.

Briana’s experience is what led her to enroll at UMassD, and even now, she still feels supported by the CCA team, both at her high school and here on campus. “The early college team on campus reached out to me and asked how my experience is going so far and if I need any help. They were in touch with people from Brockton High School, so I felt fully supported and like they cared for and respected me.”

Brockton High student Kamilla Mathurin looking at fabric samples with UMass Dartmouth professor Aleta Deyo
Brockton High student Kamilla Mathurin looking over fabric samples with Professor Aleta Deyo in an Art of Draping class

Brockton students visit UMassD

Students from partner schools, including Brockton High School, recently came to campus to sit in on the classes they’ve been taking. During their visit, they engaged in classroom discussions with current UMassD students and got hands-on experience in classes like fashion design.

For Brockton High School junior Yanckee Deleón, this meant getting the chance to see firsthand where he hopes to attend after graduating.

After taking a sociology course this semester, he plans to take an introduction to crime & justice studies next semester. He’s glad the program has allowed him to prepare for his future major, a feeling high school senior Catherine Moyes shares.

For Catherine, the highlight of the program is that having access to college now means she’ll enter her first year of college more prepared than she would have been otherwise.

“I’m glad they offer the program because now I know what’s expected in college,” Catherine said.

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