A high school that offers two years of college classes is hoping to come to the borough.
Bard High School Early College, which has schools in Long Island City and the Lower East Side, is aiming to expand to the Bronx, said Stephen Tremaine, vice president for early colleges, Bard College.
Bard has schools in six states and on Tuesday, November 12, applied to have one here as well.
“There is a need in the Bronx,” Tremaine said. “It has the lowest college success rate in the city. Providing a quality education to young students is a special thing.”
Bard College partnered with the NYC Department of Education to create the first Bard High School Early College (BHSEC), in Manhattan, which opened in 2001.
BHSEC is a public, four-year early college high school that adapts the mission of Simon’s Rock and Bard College to a public school setting and allows students to earn an associate in arts degree from Bard College as well as a high school diploma.
Tremaine told the Bronx Times, 7,000 youngsters apply for the schools every year with only 150 spots. Having a school like this in the borough will give students a better chance to succeed, he said.
“There’s a real misalignment between the need and the resources and we want to fix that,” he stressed. “We think it’s time to at least provide some more seats.”
With so many applications, the most important aspect is the interview. The students really need to show a desire to achieve and drive to go above and beyond, Tremaine said.
He noted that in the long run, attending Bard would save families money.
“We’re not a cookie cutter model that will reciprocate every facet of what we’re doing in Manhattan and Queens and do it in the Bronx and say everybody deal with it,” he said. “Bard has been doing this work in schools for 20 years and the Bronx would be the beneficiary. They finish their degrees faster and at a higher rate.”
Tremaine and his colleagues have met with Borough President Ruben Diaz’s staff for the past two years.
According to John DeSio, a spokesman for Diaz, the borough president has consistently called for the expansion of accelerated learning options for every grade in the Bronx, and this program has the potential to meet those needs in high school grades.
“Our office would encourage the Department of Education to bring a new Bard campus to the Bronx, just like they have in other boroughs,” DeSio said. “We will continue to work with parents, educators, administrators, students and the public-at-large to ensure that neither a child’s zip code nor race determines his or her ability to access advanced learning options.”
All CUNY and SUNY universities accept the Bard High School Early College higher education credits, as well as an increasing number of private schools.