Holland Public, Hope College partner for teacher preparation program

HOLLAND — A partnership between Holland Public Schools and Hope College will help create a pathway for aspiring teachers to start their degrees in high school.

Hope and HPS are establishing a tuition-free Teacher Preparation Early College Program, the first of its kind in the region, according to HPS.

Students at Holland High can enroll in the Early College program to begin taking courses at Hope College in their junior year. This will allow them to complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in education at no cost by the time they complete the Early College program.

“The ability to offset college costs is a huge benefit of this and Early College in general,” HEC Director Andrea Mehall said. “But it’s more than that. It’s the ability to provide wraparound supports a high school can to make sure they are navigating the postsecondary world with success.”

Mehall said discussions for the partnership began in early 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a delay due to the pandemic, the program will kick off this fall.

Students selected to enroll will commit to a “13th year” at Holland High through the Holland Early College program. Students will begin taking classes at Hope’s campus their junior year and continue to do so during their senior and 13th years.

Holland High School students will have the opportunity to apply to participate in a teacher preparation program through Holland Early College and Hope College.

By the end of the extra year of high school, students will have completed two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree in education at Hope College.

“After that 13th year, they can seamlessly continue on to Hope College,” Mehall said.

The program will be limited to three students per year at the start. That number could increase in the future depending on demand, Mehall said.

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