Greetings from Cloudy Seattle

Dear Academy Families,

Greetings from cloudy Seattle. I am attending the annual meeting of The National Consortium of Early College Entrance Programs, being hosted this year by the Robinson Center For Young Scholars at the University of Washington, one of the 10 founding members of the Consortium, along with our Academy. Among the current members, the Academy remains the only high school embedded in a major research university; there is one high school partnered with a liberal arts college (Guilford), and the rest all call themselves college programs for young students who have not graduated from high school (even joking that their students are high school drop-outs getting a college degree!).

We hosted the annual meeting last fall, and with the Consortium now in its third year, I can assure you that the topics shared are always productive. This year’s agenda included discussions on the social and emotional needs of students taking accelerated college courses, the possibility of doing research to compile data on the positive outcomes of our programs (such as improved college graduation rates, enhanced STEM career tracks, heightened tapping of potentials often diminished by boredom or frustration experienced by bright students in traditional settings, etc.). We also discussed more mundane business items, like soliciting new member schools, running a possible conference on our philosophies, and even encouraging foundations and other grant makers to support the Consortium’s collaborative work. We even played with the idea of trying to generate interest in our models via a documentary a la “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Perhaps most importantly, we shared stories of students in our programs, and how we are all learning to serve them better, in partnership with our host institutions of higher learning. And we enjoyed the collegiality of being together.

We all hope that our Consortium will improve our understanding of “best practices” and also allow us to find ways to raise our visibility, locally in our home cities and nationally.

Clearly, the Academy has much to gain from this Consortium, as it also stands out among these fine programs as distinctive and unique… and did I mention that the weather is better in Boston? At least for now.

Warm regards,
James S. Berkman
Head of School

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