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Institute on Early College Pedagogy at Simon's Rock hosts Teaching Seminars in August

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA.—Bard College at Simon's Rock has announced that its Institute on Early College Pedagogy will offer a Teaching Seminar from August 19 through August 22.

The Institute on Early College Pedagogy will offer a unique three-day residential opportunity to introduce school leaders and educators to the philosophy and practices that have made Bard College at Simon's Rock a successful early college.

The program for the Seminar was developed and implemented by Bard College at Simon's Rock and Bard High School Early College in New York City, in partnership with Jobs for the Future in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Clark University Park Campus School (UPCS) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Seminar participants work on site with faculty and 80 to 100 students from Simon’s Rock and Bard High School Early College as part of the training.

The seminars began in 2005, when the College received a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create summer training programs for early college faculty. Thirty faculty members participated in the first seminar. The Gates grant has since supported the continuation of this program, which is intended to help faculty to develop new methodologies for teaching in early college settings. This year, through participation in a Teaching Seminar in June and this one in August, more than 70 teachers and administrators who work with high school-early college programs will participate. They will come from across the U.S.

In the fall of 2006, Bard College at Simon's Rock received an additional grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to expand the seminars and create the Institute for Early College Pedagogy. The Institute will develop a consortium of early colleges, provide on site consulting to early college programs, continue its teacher training seminars, and host a national conference on early college (2008).


For 40 years Simon's Rock has been the only four-year college of the liberal arts and sciences in the United States specifically created for students ready to begin college early: most of its students come to the campus after the 10th or 11th grade. Simon's Rock has developed a unique understanding of the particular needs of younger college students, and created a comprehensive approach—including academic and social components—to help younger students succeed.

The Simon's Rock curriculum served as a model in the creation of Bard High School Early College, a collaboration of Bard College and the New York City Board of Education, which opened in 2001. Top Simon's Rock administrators and faculty members spent an academic year on site helping to establish that school.

Other early college programs have been established over the years, beginning as early as the 1930's, but the success of a particular approach to early college in two entirely different educational settings—Simon's Rock and BHSEC—has demonstrated the relevance of the Simon's Rock model. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) plans is to establish 180 new programs around the U.S., propelling the early college movement to greater national visibility. In funding the Summer Teaching Seminars at Simon's Rock, the Gates Foundation acknowledged these two leaders – Simon's Rock and BHSEC – by asking them to share what they have learned with teachers in these new schools.

The Early College Teaching Seminars at Simon's Rock

Visiting teachers will observe students and faculty from Bard High School Early College and Bard College at Simon's Rock. The four-day seminar will include training and coaching as well as curriculum development and technical assistance, and will incorporate a model of "rounds" piloted by Clark/UPCS. The approaches of the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, a national model writing program, are used by BHSEC and Simon's Rock and will be featured in these seminars.

The seminars will teach the following:

    * Successful approaches for presenting college work to younger students, useful to school developers as well as to college faculty members.
    * The role of writing as central to curriculum development and teaching.
    * Specific approaches to preparing students early for constant acceleration in college work.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706