NCCC, Tri-Lakes schools to launch college prep program

Education officials from the Tri-Lakes area announced a new initiative this week that aims to better prepare high school graduates for college.

The Adirondack Early College High School is being funded by a $200,000 grant awarded by the state Department of Education. The project is being organized by officials from North Country Community College and the Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake central school districts.

The initiative is part of the Smart Scholars Program, which is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Carol Brown is president of NCCC. She says the project is a holistic approach to preparing students for college. The program aims to develop skills that lead to success in college and beyond, Brown adds.

Brown says she's seen programs similar to the Adirondack Early College High School work well in other states. The goal, she says, is to make sure that students are ready for college - the three-year program is geared specifically toward first generation college students, economically disadvantaged students, and those who are considered educationally at-risk.

The program's theme is "A Green and Healthy Future," the goal being to prepare students for high-paid and skilled employment in the North Country.

Brown says the early college high school initiative is one of the first programs of its kind in rural New York. Enrolled students will spend time at both their local school district and NCCC.

Officials with the state education department say the existing collaboration between the three school districts, Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES, and the community college helped secure the grant funding.

According to Carol Brown, the three superintendents - Randy Richards of Lake Placid, Jerry Goldman of Saranac Lake, and Seth McGowan of Tupper Lake - want students to experience a culture that makes college an attainable goal.

Up to 20 students per high school are expected to participate as the program develops.

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