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Bard Early College in New Orleans, a satellite initiative of Bard College, is founded in the belief that many students are ready to engage with challenging, intellectually rewarding college coursework while still 16 or 17. Through early college programs in New York, Newark, and elsewhere, Bard has extended the resources and standards of a liberal arts education into public school systems across the country.
Structure: Bard Early College in New Orleans (BECNO) enables 11th and 12th graders in New Orleans public high schools to finish as much as the first year of college during the last two years of high school. Participating students complete required high school courses in the mornings at a conventional public high school; in the afternoons, students are enrolled as tuition-free Bard undergraduates. Students enroll in two three-credit courses per semester for as many as four consecutive semesters.
Curriculum: BECNO provides the first year of an undergraduate curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences to younger students. Course offerings range from Philosophy and Film Theory to Microbiology and Social Psychology. All courses are taught by widely experienced college professors who are accomplished in their fields.
Mission: BECNO's mission is to provide bright, intellectually ambitious New Orleans high school students with a compelling and high-level introduction to the liberal arts and sciences. This mission – our responsibility to our students – is two-fold: to provide a classroom experience of the same quality and intellectual richness that students enjoy in the nation's best colleges, and to make that experience accessible to students who face real barriers to higher education. We believe (and our experience in New Orleans has proven) that students are inspired to aim higher in education when they've been shown that college is a goal worth pursuing.
Site: Through a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, BECNO operates two sites within the New Orleans public school system. Each shares space with an existing public high school.