SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Veritas Prep Charter School (VPCS) has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to help fund their wall-to-wall college and career readiness model. The Early College Full School Impact Planning Grant is designed to help educational institutions develop an immersive model for education that allows students the opportunity to graduate high school with a minimum of 30 college credits. Veritas was one of only five schools to receive this grant.
Currently, only 26.4 percent of Springfield residents obtain a higher education degree, compared to almost 50 percent statewide.
“Our wall-to-wall high school program will address key barriers to higher education such as access, under-preparation and cost,” said Rachel Romano, founder and executive director of VPCS. “Our program will not only prepare scholars for life after graduation, but will put them a step ahead by allowing many to graduate high school having completed up to two years of college for free, possibly even earning an associate degree. We appreciate DESE for recognizing our efforts and the opportunities we are building for our Veritasscholars.”
Veritas Prep High School (VPHS) is set to welcome its first class of high school students in the fall of 2022. With the help of higher education partners, school leaders are working now to design a program model based on a scaffolded set of experiences that prepares students for college and careers.
“We want to thank Worcester State University and Springfield Technical Community College for their partnership and willingness to innovate with us as we develop the details of this new model,” said Lily Newman, director of High School Design at VPHS. “They have been flexible and ready to dive in to create a successful model for our scholars. We appreciate their early adoption and are engaging in conversations with other higher education institutions as well.”
Together, more than 200 community members, led by a design team of alumni, students, families and staff, created the Veritas “Portrait of a Graduate.”
“This embodies our vision that all Veritas scholars will become changemakers who are equipped to choose their path, challenge inequity and transform the world,” said Romano. “Our students will emerge as woke citizens, innovators, leaders of tomorrow and learners for life.”
“Being part of the design team for Veritas Prep High School has afforded me the opportunity to be on the ground floor of creating something amazing,” said Maddie Ramos, a Veritas Prep parent and the new Family Engagement and Student Enrollment Manager. “VPHS will be so much more than a traditional high school and will prepare scholars for what lies ahead after graduation. This gives me hope that my children and others in our community will have increased access to higher education. VPHS is being built by the community to better serve each student who walks through the door.”
About Veritas Prep Charter School
Veritas Prep Charter School (VPCS) was founded in Springfield in 2012 with the mission to prepare students in grades 5-8 to compete, achieve, and succeed in high school, college, and beyond. VPCS now serves more than 370 Springfield students and is one of Massachusetts’ top-performing middle schools. Building on the success of VPCS, Friends of Veritas Prep partnered with the Holyoke Public Schools, launching Veritas Prep Holyoke (VPH) in 2018 as part of Holyoke’s innovative turnaround efforts. VPH is a neighborhood enrollment school currently serving grades 5 through 8. In 2020, VPCS was approved to open a high school, which will welcome its inaugural 9th-grade class in 2022. To learn more visit veritasprepma.org.
About Springfield Technical Community College
Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), a public not-for-profit institution and the Commonwealth’s only technical community college, continues the pioneering legacy of the Springfield Armory with comprehensive and technical education in manufacturing, STEM, healthcare, business, social services, and the liberal arts. STCC’s highly regarded workforce, certificate, degree, and transfer programs are the most affordable in Springfield and provide an unequaled opportunity for the vitality of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1967, the college – a designated Hispanic Serving Institution – seeks to close achievement gaps among students who traditionally face societal barriers. STCC supports students as they transform their lives through intellectual, cultural, and economic engagement while becoming thoughtful, committed, and socially responsible graduates.
About Worcester State University
Worcester State University (WSU) is a liberal arts and sciences university with a long tradition of academic excellence. WSU offers 60 undergraduate majors and minors, 29 master’s degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates, and graduate programs, and real-time access to online, noncredit professional training. Our accreditation by the New England Commission on Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE), formerly the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), demonstrates that our liberal arts and sciences curriculum meets or exceeds its criteria for assessment of quality. To learn more, visit worcester.edu.