Educational, cultural, and civic organizations from across the region met at the Early College Conference and Summit at Bard College at Simon’s Rock on April 21 and 22, 2017. The theme of the two-day forum “The Architecture of Partnership: Connection, Collaboration, Conviviality,” was designed to foster inter-organizational conversations and alliances centered around educational innovation.
Hosted by The Bard Center for Early College, the conference featured panels, roundtables, and workshops focused on local and regional partnerships. On day one participating institutions and organizations explored commonalities and identify opportunities to extend beyond institutional boundaries.
Roundtable discussions included: “Early College in Local, Regional, and National Contexts,” “Public-Private Partnerships for the Social Good,” “Reimagining the Learner,” “Collaboration and Integration Among Local Educational Institutions,” and “Community and Education in the Pursuit of Justice and Equity.”
Over 20 organizations were represented at the conference, including Miss Hall’s School, Berkshire Hills School District, Montessori School of the Berkshires, Berkshire Community College, Williams College, Bard College, Bard Prison Initiative Jobs For the Future, North Shore Community College, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Ramp Education, Norman Rockwell Museum, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, Butterfly Leadership Academy, Shakespeare & Company, Multicultural Bridge, Railroad Street Youth Project, Falsework School, Disaster Recovery International, and Berkshire SURJ.
“While previous summits have focused on providing a platform for thinking about mission and pedagogy among Bard’s network of early colleges,” said Asma Abbas, Simon’s Rock faculty member and conference organizer, “this year we seek to cut across domains and missions to imagine new partnerships and expand the conversation about early college models, education reform, and inclusivity within higher education.”
Provost Ian Bickford added, “The very structure of Early College invites discourse and collaboration across educational levels and contexts, and the summit convenes our colleagues and partners in this spirit. It is especially meaningful that we meet at the founding site of the growing Early College movement, which answers the most urgent and persistent challenges facing secondary and higher education.”
The conference and summit will produce a series of presentations, articles, and papers which will be published in an online journal on pedagogy, Process Notes. Published by the Center for Early College, the journal will document ideas and educational models that seek to transform individuals and institutions, and provide a repository of outcomes.
The Bard Center for Early College is committed to systemic reform in the education of adolescents by pioneering extraordinary learning contexts, and pursuing conversation about who goes to college, where, and when—a crucial and often-overlooked element of the organization of public and private education in this country, with profound implications for entrenched and layered problems of college access, cost, quality, equity, and completion. Enrolling students from all backgrounds into immersive college study after the 10th grade, Bard’s nationally renowned early college programs illuminate the overwhelming correlation between early college entry, successful college completion, and career readiness, informed and guided by deep immersion in the liberal arts and sciences. For more information visit cec.bard.edu.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the Early College is the only college in the country specifically designed for bright, highly motivated students ready to enter college after the 10th or 11th grade. Simon's Rock offers a challenging program in the liberal arts and sciences, taught exclusively in small seminars by a supportive, highly trained faculty, who are leading scholars in their fields. The College grants degrees in more than 35 majors. The Princeton Review's Best 380 Colleges rates academics at Simon’s Rock higher than Harvard and Princeton.
Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock is the nation’s first two-year boarding and day program designed to prepare 9th- and 10th-graders to start college early. A student entering Bard Academy as a high school freshman will earn an Associate of Arts degree from Bard College at Simon’s Rock after only four years and a Bachelor of Arts degree after only six years. The Academy curriculum is designed and taught by students’ future college professors.