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Advanced Course Access Grant Program Overview: Nassau BOCES

Award Years: 2021-2023

The NYSED ESSA plan uses enrollment in advanced courses as an indicator of equity in its measures of success and recommends access to rigorous coursework for all students, including those students who are historically underserved (Wilkins 2019). Two goals of the USNY Statewide Learning Technology Plan are "enhanced, culturally- and linguistically-responsive learning environments to support improved teaching and learning" and to "increase equitable access to high-quality digital resources and standards-based, technology-rich learning experiences." The plan identifies the Regents expectation that "multiple environments will exist for teaching and learning, unbound by place, time, income, language or disability."

The Nassau BOCES Center for Online Learning (COL) offers rigorous standards-based coursework in a technology-rich learning environment. The COL's technical infrastructure is part of a New York State-wide integrated domain system headed by Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES. Multiple BOCES throughout New York State share content and enrollments through this system. Nassau BOCES heads the Long Island domains and has already built subdomains for all districts on Long Island. Joining this Network was an integral part of the creation of the COL as its vision always included enrolling students and teachers in its programs statewide.

The COL offers personalized learning to increase equitable access to high-quality advanced placement and dual-credit courses through its Online Learning Academy (OLA).  The COL and OLA were established through Nassau BOCES' participation in and the extension of the NYSED Virtual Advanced Placement (VAP) grant.  These programs are now ready to expand through the Advanced Course Access (ACA) program grant.

Nine school districts located in both Nassau and Suffolk counties with a total of 40,867 student enrollments, representing 14,803 high school students have joined the Nassau BOCES ACA grant consortium. Six of these districts have 21%-39% ELL students; five districts have 20%- 47% Black students; seven districts have 30%-72% Hispanic students; and seven districts have 37%-87% economically disadvantaged students.

Nassau BOCES will serve as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for the program. The project includes increasing advanced course enrollment for up to 300 students per year, including traditionally underrepresented  students and access to under-enrolled AP courses, especially in STEAM content areas; to provide professional development for school counselors through College Board and Nassau BOCES to identify and support potential AP students;  and to provide professional development to teachers through College Board and Nassau BOCES to increase the number of district teachers facilitating advanced courses. We will reach the largest number of students possible by running courses with as few as one student; providing professional development for school counselors to help identify students they may not have thought they would be AP eligible; and offering underrepresented populations virtual tutoring support that will encourage them to be persistent and succeed.