Whittier joins with NECC to offer its students college level courses and credits

A partnership with Northern Essex Community College is expanding -- allowing students at Whittier Tech to get more of a college education while still in high school. Whittier's early college pathway allows students to take college level courses with NECC and receive credit for their work.

While Whittier offers AP courses through Apex Learning -- an online program -- the early college pathway allows students to receive three guaranteed general education credits that can be applied at NECC, all state universities and many private colleges and universities.

Currently, 44 juniors and seniors are pursuing the early college pathway and are enrolled in English Composition 1, which is taught by a NECC teacher who comes to Whittier’s campus every week. Each credit is $110 (through Whittier’s partnership with NECC, students receive a 45 percent tuition break), which also includes all course materials. In the spring, these same students will have the opportunity to continue on to English Composition 2. Next year, students will also be able to take a math class at NECC following their lunch period.

“What’s unique about our the early college pathway is that students are taking actual college courses, both on and off campus, and receiving credit for the work they complete,” said Patricia Lowell, Director of Pupil Personnel Services at Whittier. “They are not required to take the AP test and are guaranteed credits for their work as long as they pass the class.”

NECC is also planning on offering three evening courses for students in math and biology through the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership. The three credit classes will be free, though students will be required to take a placement test and purchase books and materials.

Additionally, machine technology students, beginning with sophomores this year, will be able to obtain credits toward an advanced manufacturing certificate and advanced manufacturing associate’s degree through Whittier's partnership with NECC. Each course costs $110. They can also receive credits that can be applied to a school that has a State Articulation Agreement.

“The best part of this arrangement is that students who want to earn credits for a machine tech certificate or associate's degree are already completing this work at Whittier as part of their regular curriculum,” Lowell said. “Northern Essex Community College is now recognizing this work and offering students a jump start in earning credits toward a post secondary degree, which improves their preparation and marketability for the work force."

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