Baldwin Union Free School District has partnered with Nassau Community College to offer eligible students the opportunity to attend college courses and receive college credits during their senior year of high school through SUNY Nassau's Dual Enrollment Program.
Thirteen students from the class of 2021 started taking college courses on Sept. 1 at the SUNY Nassau Campus, where students are a part of the community college's campus and considered full-time college students. While some courses may be virtual, the program emphasizes in-person education.
“Our students will take courses that will help determine their future area of study and be able to graduate high school and attend higher education, not only prepared and confident, but as sophomores,” Baldwin Schools Superintendent Dr. Shari Camhi said.
The students are taking up to six classes per semester, including a math course, a political science course, an economics course, a science course, an English course and a phys. ed. course. The classes are dual enrollment courses that align with high school graduation requirements, and the credits can be transferred to any State University of New York school or any other institution of higher education for which credit requirements are met.
"Community colleges are a critical access point to higher education and a bridge to fulfilling the dreams of so many students,” said Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, president of SUNY Nassau. “It is imperative that we are meeting the needs of the communities we serve and providing equitable opportunities for students so they can achieve their goals both inside and outside the classroom."
Williams said he hopes to increase class size for this program and partner with other high schools across Long Island in the future; however, first Nassau officials want to pilot the program and gather feedback from students in order to create a solid infrastructure to set up the students for success.
This is not the first partnership that the Baldwin School District has established. Through its Academic Academies Program, it offers students relevant educational and vocational experiences with the help of partners that include Northrop Grumman, Citicorp, State Farm Insurance, Mercy Medical Center, Hofstra University, Northwell Health, National Grid and Molloy College.
In 2019, the district also launched a similar pilot program with Suffolk County Community College, in which eight seniors took five courses per semester. The classes were also dual enrollment courses that aligned with high school graduation requirements, and the students simultaneously earned high school and college credits.
Baldwin High School boasts a 98 percent graduation, including 94 percent of graduating seniors attending two- and four-year colleges. Because of these figures, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Baldwin Senior High School just shy of the top 25 percent of high schools in the state and in the top 21 percent in the nation, among 18,000 high schools across the country.