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Bard College at Simon's Rock hosts third annual Early College Teaching Seminars

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA.—Bard College at Simon's Rock is pleased to announce that the Institute on Early College Pedagogy will offer two sessions of its Early College Teaching Seminars on the college’s Great Barrington campus from June 12th-June 15th and from August 19th-August 22nd.

For the third consecutive year, the Institute on Early College Pedagogy will offer a unique three-day residential opportunity to introduce school leaders and educators to the philosophy and pedagogical practices of Bard College at Simon's Rock that have made it the pioneer early college in the United States.

The program was developed and implemented by Bard College at Simon's Rock and Bard High School Early College in New York City, in partnership with Jobs for the Future in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Clark University Park Campus School (UPCS) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Seminar participants work in situ with faculty and 80-100 students from Simon’s Rock and Bard High School Early College as part of the training.

This year, more than 70 teachers, school teams and administrators who work with high school-early college programs will experience and participate in the Simon’s Rock model of pedagogy and curriculum that is designed for adolescent learners. The seminars, which draw participants from across North America, are an opportunity to foster professional connections while continuing to establish the formation of early college as a distinctive movement in higher education.

The seminars began in 2005, when the College received a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create summer training programs for early college faculty. Thirty faculty members participated in the first seminar. The Gates grant has since supported the continuation of this program, which is intended to help faculty to develop new methodologies for teaching in early college settings.

This past fall, Bard College at Simon's Rock received an additional grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to expand the seminars and create the Institute for Early College Pedagogy. The Institute will develop a consortium of early colleges, continue its teaching training seminars, and host a national conference on early college.


For 40 years Simon's Rock has been the only four-year college of the liberal arts and sciences in the United States specifically created for students ready to begin college early: most of its students come to the campus after the 10th or 11th grade. Bard College at Simon's Rock has developed a unique understanding of the particular needs of younger college students, and created a comprehensive approach—including academic and social components—to help younger students succeed.

The Simon's Rock curriculum served as a model in the creation of Bard High School Early College, a collaboration of Bard College and the New York City Board of Education, which opened in 2001. Top Simon's Rock administrators and faculty members spent an academic year on site helping to establish that school.

Other early college programs have been established over the years, beginning as early as the 1930's, but the success of a particular approach to early college in two entirely different educational settings—Simon's Rock and BHSEC—has demonstrated the potability of the Simon's Rock model. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) plans is to establish 180 new programs around the U.S., propelling the early college movement to greater national visibility. In funding the Summer Teaching Seminars at Simon's Rock, the Gates Foundation acknowledged these two leaders by asking them to share what they have learned with teachers in these new schools.

The Early College Teaching Seminars at Simon's Rock

The Summer Seminars will include observation of students and faculty from Bard High School Early College and Bard College at Simon's Rock. The four-day seminar will include training and coaching as well as curriculum development and technical assistance, and will incorporate a model of "rounds" piloted by Clark/UPCS. The approaches of the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, a national model writing program, are used by BHSEC and Simon's Rock and will be featured in these seminars.

The seminars will teach the following:

  • Successful approaches for presenting college work to younger students, useful to school developers as well as to college faculty members.
  • The role of writing as central to curriculum development and teaching.
  • Specific approaches to preparing students early for constant acceleration in college work.

Seminar Contact:
Christine Sommervill
413 528-7216