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Amidst the annual course selection process, many Staples High School students have been choosing to lean into the college transition with credit and at a lower cost by taking one of seven courses offered at Staples through the University of Connecticut (UConn) Early College Experience (ECE) program.
 
This year alone nearly three hundred Staples students are preparing for what comes next by adapting to college-level coursework and workload management while earning credit for classes that transfer to about 87% of colleges. What’s more, at $50 per course credit, it is a fraction of the cost.
 
Representing a range of topics, Staples students are taking courses related to writing and composition, French, German and Italian language and literature, anthropology, human rights, and popular music and diversity in American society. 
 
What teachers are realizing too is that these courses also extend to students the opportunity to reflect and engage in dialogue at a different level.
 
“Our group inquiry in Seminar in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition is about communities and the literacies that define them,” said Brian Tippy, a Staples High School English teacher. “Many students explore communities related to their own cultural, religious or linguistic background, opening up constant opportunities to celebrate each student for their uniqueness.”
 
With the ECE enrollment of Staples students doubling year-over-year, the popularity of the program is on the rise.
 
In fact, the UConn Office of Early College Programs recently identified Staples as the participating school with the fifth highest number of students enrolled in the program.
 
Andrew Berkowitz, a Staples senior who took the Literacy, Identity and Community class this year explains, “Each student chose a literacy of interest and then had the semester to do field research, learn about and analyze the topic, and share one’s findings. I now feel much more prepared to write an academic piece of work in college.”
 
Tippy shared that including the ECE program at Staples not only empowers students to navigate the transition to college more seamlessly, but it provides an opportunity to test and underscore the value of the Staples curriculum.
 
“As we drafted the course, we realized that our existing sequence of high school coursework is highly aligned to what colleges are expecting and teaching their own students about academic writing and other modes of composition,” said Tippy. “That’s gratifying.”