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Danbury High To Offer Associate Degree Program To Incoming Freshmen

Danbury High School will begin offering incoming freshmen the chance to earn an associate degree starting next school year.
Danbury High School will begin offering incoming freshmen the chance to earn an associate degree starting next school year. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. -- Beginning next fall, freshmen students entering Danbury High School will have an opportunity to earn an associate's degree simultaneously with their high school diploma.

As part of the Early College Opportunity program, 80 to 100 incoming freshmen students will begin their journey toward an associate's degree in information technology issued by Naugatuck Valley Community College.

“Being able to offer this opportunity to our students has been a long-term goal of the district,” Superintendent Sal Pascarella said in a statement. “This program endeavors to build on the concept of having academies with specific focuses within our large high school. I expect these students will enter DHS excited about this new opportunity and in four years leave us knowing that their goals for a fulfilling pathway to college and career in technology are within reach.”

According to Dan Donovan, assistant principal at DHS and administrator of the freshman academy, freshmen who register for the program in the 2015-16 school year will begin accelerating their high school requirements so that by their sophomore or junior year they can begin incorporating college-level courses.

Donovan will be visiting the district’s three middle schools to speak with eighth-graders about the program Feb. 18 to Feb. 20.

A DHS informational session for incoming freshmen will be held Monday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Danbury High School. An informational session for students and parents interested in Danbury ECO is scheduled for Monday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

If there is an overwhelming interest in the program, students will be selected through a lottery system.

The first program in Connecticut, Norwalk Early College Academy began in fall 2014 as a partnership between IBM, Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College. Danbury is one of three partnerships in the state slated to begin this fall; schools in Windham and New London are also beginning programs.

“This helps close the socio-economic achievement gap in Danbury,” Donovan said. “It allows students who may not have been able to afford an associate degree the chance to go to college. They come out of high school ready for the fast track for employment in jobs in technology.”

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