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These High School Students Are Closing in On Their College Degree

Six students from the 2018 senior class at MaST Community Charter School (MaST) are embarking on the next big chapter of their lives. This year when the students step off the bus at the Northeast Regional Center to take their college-level courses, the memory will be bittersweet. Not only is it the last year of high school, it is also their last year at Community College of Philadelphia.

These students will soon become the first cohort to graduate under a special dual enrollment program created through a partnership between MaST and the College in 2015, known as MC2. They are on track to earn both an associate degree and a high school diploma in May 2018.

“Colleges like unique. When we apply to four-year colleges, they’ll see we took the harder path and it helps us stand out,” said Savannah Zazulak.
As sophomores, MaST high school students entered a dual enrollment program, taking a combination of college level courses, along with their own high school courses. If they complete their final year successfully, they will have earned 60 college credits and an Associate in Arts Degree in Business, along with their diploma.
“It’s an exciting year for these students. Our dual enrollment programs provide an accelerated career track for Philadelphia youth from all walks and stages of life,” said Dr. Donald Guy Generals, president of the College. “The regional workforce benefits as the city increases the college-going rate.”
Dual enrollment programs are increasing in numbers across the country. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 15,000 public high schools (82%) enrolled students in college courses during the 2010-11 school year.
These programs offer many benefits for the students as well. Community College Research Center at Columbia University conducted studies in Florida, New York City and California and found that dual enrollment participation is positively related to a range of college outcomes, including college enrollment and persistence, greater credit accumulation and higher college GPA. 
“The MaST and Community College of Philadelphia partnership has brought an amazing opportunity to our students at MaST allowing participating students to earn their associate degree focusing on business or health care, while graduating from high school at the same time,” said John Swoyer, CEO of MaST.
The MaST students were tasked with a project this past summer to visit four-year college campuses across the country. Among the many colleges and universities students visited included the University of
Pennsylvania, Temple University, Princeton University, University of Denver and Bryn Athyn College.  
MaST Community Charter School currently runs a K-12 charter school that serves 1,350 students. The school’s educational philosophy embeds STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Math) into all aspects of their curriculum and learning environments.