Opening Doors and Removing Barriers: Taunton High School Awarded Early College Designation for Partnership with Bristol Community College

TAUNTON - Superintendent John J. Cabral is pleased to announce Taunton High School has been awarded an Early College Designation from the Healy-Driscoll administration for its partnership with Bristol Community College.

Massachusetts’ Early College program allows currently enrolled high school students to take college credit-bearing courses for free. This headstart on post-secondary education contributes to significantly higher college enrollment and completion rates, especially for low-income, minority and first-generation students. According to state data for 2019, approximately 76 percent of Early College students went on to enroll in college compared to just 55 percent of their peers.

“Providing post-secondary opportunities for our traditionally underserved and underrepresented student groups has been a long-term goal and strategic objective for Taunton Public Schools,” said Superintendent Cabral. “The early college program in partnership with Bristol Community College is a significant step towards achieving our goals.” 

As a result of the Early College designation, students in the class of 2028 will have the opportunity to complete a full year of college before graduating high school without incurring the expense of a year’s worth of tuition. 

Megan Conlon ‘24 has taken three Early College classes, a total of nine credits, this school year as part of the existing dual enrollment program with Bristol Community College. “These courses have saved me money on mandatory classes while also allowing me to take elective courses that I have a genuine interest in,” said Conlon. “Through Early College, I have been able to discover new interests in my education while also easing the financial burden for my future."

Sarah Mendonca, ‘24, has also taken dual enrollment classes. “I'm so appreciative of the opportunity to challenge myself and earn college credit through Dual Enrollment programs. I've really enjoyed taking classes that have piqued my interest and strengthened my skill set--like public speaking and ASL--but most of all, it's reassuring to know that I am potentially saving money when I enter college," said Mendonca.

Giovanna Guarino, ‘25 has already earned nine credits this year through dual enrollment. "I have benefited from the Early College program at THS because they have given me the chance to obtain college credit while I am still in high school, which has allowed me to save money and time for my future college career,” said Guarino. “Being able to experience real college lectures that I would actually take if I were a college student is something I truly have enjoyed about visiting campus."

This program is in addition to the existing dual enrollment Taunton High School currently offers with both Bristol Community College and UMass Dartmouth. Where this program differs from traditional dual enrollment is the integration with the college experience as well as additional supports for student success like cohort-only activities. Students will take courses taught by college faculty both in a designated Early College Center at Taunton High School and on the Bristol Community College campus. 

“Bristol Community College is proud to partner with Taunton High School on the development of an innovative Early College program that will help students build academic confidence and recognize that college is a great option to a sustainable, well-paying career,” said Dr. Laura L. Douglas, President, Bristol Community College. 

The THS BCC Early College program is one of 53 designated programs across the Commonwealth. The announcement also included designations for East Boston High School and Fisher College and Southbridge High School and Quinsigamond Community College.