Baldwin HS Starts Early College Partnership with Suffolk County Community College
Eligible BHS Seniors Attend Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus, Earning Credits towards College Degree
It’s an exciting initiative; eligible Baldwin High School seniors started school last week by walking on a college campus instead of through the front doors of the high school. A year early on a college campus, these students are taking courses at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) to earn college credits towards a degree as part of an innovative education partnership between the Baldwin Union Free School District (UFSD) and Suffolk County Community College.
“This Early College Program partnership with Suffolk County Community College is a unique way to make sure that our students are prepared for college and their future,” said Dr. Shari Camhi, Superintendent, Baldwin UFSD. “We are excited to have the opportunity for our students to actually attend college and take courses on campus and get the true college experience. I believe this gives them the chance to gain the skills needed to be successful in their transition to college and in life.”
Eligible students entering the 12th grade this 2018-2019 school year were presented with the option to attend SCCC. The eight Baldwin students who opted into the program are taking approximately 30 college credits—about five classes per semester. These classes are dual enrollment courses that were selected to align with high school graduation requirements. The students will simultaneously earn high school and college credits.
“The first year is a small pilot group,” said Dr. Camhi. “We aim to have more students participate in this program in the coming years. This partnership can save students time spent on working towards their college degree, as well as help shape their decision when selecting a degree. Our overall goal is to help guide our students and make sure they are college and career ready and able to obtain employment after college.”
Baldwin students take a bus to Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood from Baldwin High School each morning, Monday through Thursday. The 23-mile trek assists these seniors in getting a head start on their journey into the world of higher education. On Fridays, the students work on their online college course, meet with their guidance counselor, and access additional support from the high school library.
“Students are being given an opportunity to jump-start their higher education journey,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay. “Through Suffolk’s admissions process, qualified students were enrolled in college classes taught by our professors, sitting beside Suffolk students. The on-campus, holistic college experience is an important component to teaching students the necessary skills for later success in higher-level academia. Students build resilience, independence, responsibility, and perseverance, while developing time management, prioritization, and goal setting skills that are all necessary to be successful in the college environment.”
The credits the students earn at SCCC will be transferrable to any State University of New York (SUNY) College. Students may also continue their studies at SCCC and enter as a college sophomore upon successful completion of this program and graduating from Baldwin High School. Both options will save students time and money, as they will already have one year of college study completed whether they attend a two-year or four-year college or university.
Even more exciting, beginning in January of 2019, SCCC’s spring semester, students will have the opportunity to take science courses that could serve as pre-requisite courses for continued study in the health sciences field. Future plans may include the option of enrolling in Career Technical Education (CTE) pre-requisite courses to either SCCC’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) or Manufacturing Technology associates degree programs. These degrees can lead to a variety of professional careers right after graduation, and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment needs for these areas are expected to outpace the average employment needs for other service-based industries.
The DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics information through the year 2022 reports increases in job projections for manufacturing-related jobs on Long Island. The bureau also reports that job prospects in HVAC/R are expected to be excellent, particularly for those with training from an accredited program, such as the one offered at Suffolk. Additionally, the DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of medical and health services managers will grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Most medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field; however, master’s degrees also are common.
Baldwin High School students met with Suffolk County Community College’s Dean Deborah Wolfson and the high school guidance team last May to introduce the program and begin planning their course load and class schedules. They also attended a New Student Orientation at Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus with other incoming college students.
The students began classes with the Suffolk County Community College student body on Tuesday, September 4.