July 27, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Berkshire Community College (BCC) are offering the Third Annual MCLA/BCC Dual Enrollment: Summer 2018 Academy. The five-week program, which runs through Aug. 3, provides a free, intensive college readiness experience for 15 newly graduated Berkshire County high school students and high school seniors.

Held at the Conte Federal Building, 78 Center St., Pittsfield, Summer Academy 2018 includes two Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program (CDEP) academic courses, “English 101” and “Math 232: Introduction to Statistics,” which will prepare participants to attend MCLA or BCC. The students will earn six college credits – three for each course.

In addition, MCLA and BCC, in partnership with the Berkshire Regional Employment Board and local employers, provided participants with paid, summer internships through grant and local funded sources.

According to Dr. Joshua Mendel, director of recruitment and outreach for the College’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, the program was organized with dual enrollment funding after MCLA and BCC identified an under-served population of high school students in Berkshire County, who would benefit both personally and academically from an intensive college and career exploration experience.

“We are very proud of the students that have immersed themselves in this rigorous academic and internship opportunity. They have risen to challenges in the classroom and explored potential career interests in the workforce. The Summer Academy faculty and staff have done an outstanding job advancing the students aspirations and opportunities to be successful in college,” Mendel said. “MCLA is proud to partner with BCC, the high schools, the Department of Higher Education and the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board to provide this experience for our local students.”

According to Christopher Laney, interim dean of humanities at BCC, “Everyone pulls together to support the students in this intensive program, and the students are incredibly determined. The result has been a nearly 100 percent completion rate over the past couple of years. Not surprisingly, the faculty and staff love working with these students.”

For Kelby Lesage, a senior of Drury High School in North Adams who is serving his internship at the Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC), “It’s my first work experience, ever.” He expects the English and math classes he is taking will enhance his college application in the coming year.

“It’s been a lot of work,” said Casey Meczywor, a senior at Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, where he is serving a technology internship. “I want to work harder at high school to prepare me for college. This experience is really showing me how hard I will have to work to succeed in college. It’s difficult, but it’s helping me to improve.”

Students who successfully complete this program (with a 3.0 or higher) will be considered for acceptance to MCLA based on academic standards. MCLA’s Admissions counselors will provide information and support to students and their families throughout this summer program to support a successful preparation for and transition to college. Similarly, BCC admissions counselors will be available to assist those considering that college.

MCLA supports several other CDEP opportunities, including access to an inventory of courses that are taught on the North Adams campus, as well as a jointly delivered computer programming course that partners several North County high schools with MCLA. BCC also offers access to courses on its campus, online, and at participating high schools.

The goal of the CDEP is to increase awareness of post-secondary opportunities and expand the population of college-ready students who would otherwise have limited or no access to an early college experience. By participating in CDEP opportunities, local high school students can earn college credit at no cost.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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