Bard High School Early Colleges

Bard College

STEM Commitments [White House Summit on College Opportunity, Dec. 2014]

GOAL:  Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY) Goals Bard High School Early Colleges will implement a new computing-based science and math curriculum in all four schools by 2017, reaching approximately 2,500 students, to increase the proportion of minority and female students intending to major in STEM fields by at least 10 percent within the next three years.

ACTION PLAN: Bard High School Early Colleges (BHSECs) are public schools that provide students with a two-year, tuitionfree college course of study following the 9th and 10th grades. BHSEC students earn up to 60 transferable college credits and an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree concurrently with their high school diploma. The students at the BHSEC campuses are highly diverse and campuses have demonstrated success in educating STEM graduates with 35 percent of BHSEC alumni receiving a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field over the last five years, more than twice the national average.

Bard College will transform these pioneering schools by developing and implementing an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum in technology, programming, and computer science in order to increase the participation and improve the performance of underrepresented groups in computer science. The curriculum will also emphasize computing skills as foundations for multiple STEM disciplines beyond computer science. The curriculum changes are intended to increase the proportion of minority students and female students who intend to major in STEM fields by at least 10 percentage points each within three years. If demonstrated to produce better educational outcomes, this new interdisciplinary approach to teaching computing can be widely adopted by other high schools and early colleges to increase student participation and improve performance in computing and other STEM subjects.

The program will engage all students in computation, starting with entering 9th graders, and embed computational thinking throughout the math and science curriculum for high school and early college. In 2015- 2016, faculty at BHSEC Queens will develop and implement an interdisciplinary curriculum that unifies multiple STEM disciplines through computing and applies a common set of computing skills in math and science courses. In 2016-2017, the program will be replicated at the remaining three BHSEC campuses with training support provided by faculty involved in the implementation at BHSEC Queens. By 2017, all four campuses – enrolling approximately 2,500 students – will be offering the new curriculum. 

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