The Charger Blog

University, Attleboro High School Collaborate to Create Exciting Opportunities for Students

As part of a new Criminal Justice Cohort Program, Attleboro High School students can take criminal justice courses through the University of New Haven, enabling them to learn from University faculty and open doors to new educational opportunities.

August 4, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Gehring Hall at the University of New Haven.
Gehring Hall at the University of New Haven.

Emily H., a rising high school senior, doesn’t have to wait until after she earns her high school diploma to begin taking criminal justice courses at the college level. Attleboro High School (AHS) in Attleboro, Mass., now offers students such as Emily an opportunity to take college classes through the University of New Haven.

As part of a new collaboration, AHS and the University have developed a Criminal Justice Cohort Program that will allow AHS students to take four classes through the University. The program, which aims to enhance post-secondary educational opportunities for AHS students, offers courses that will enable students to seamlessly transition to one of the University’s criminal justice programs, as well as various other majors.

“The program is beneficial because it helps students prepare,” said Emily. “It gives us a head start with college and creates more connections to further career opportunities.”

‘They all spoke highly of their experiences’

AHS students who meet admissions criteria may matriculate at the University, and those who are enrolled in senior-year courses would enjoy precollege program privileges, including access to online library resources.

“It is critical to increase college access opportunities,” said Corinne Merjave, director of community outreach for the University. “A partnership such as this one allows students to not only gain a head-start in completing college courses, but also to have an additional level of support as they begin navigating the college search process.”

AHS offers a well-established Legal and Protective Services Program, enabling public service-oriented students to focus on specific courses related to the field. The collaboration with the University will enable them to take four important courses and receive college credit for two of them.

“I was very interested in collaborating with the University of New Haven because I have had graduates of my program attend, and they all spoke highly of their experiences,” said Tobey Reed, a criminal justice instructor at AHS. “The ability to partner with such a high-quality institution was too good to pass up. I was very happy with how receptive everyone has been. One thing COVID taught us was how to provide virtual instruction, and that allows for students in Massachusetts to enroll in courses in New Haven. That is a fantastic opportunity.”

‘The need for qualified criminal justice practitioners’

AHS students who are interested in the cohort program and/or who are in the Legal and Protective Services Program will be identified during their sophomore year, and they will take part in the program through their senior year. Students entering their junior and senior year this fall will complete the program before graduating.

“The Criminal Justice Department is very excited to expand our high school articulation program to include Attleboro High School,” said John DeCarlo, Ph.D., professor and director of the master’s program in criminal justice at the University. “We have been working successfully with James Hillhouse High School in New Haven and West Haven High School for the past several years on very successful programs, and we look forward to working closely with Attleboro and welcoming their students to the University of New Haven.

“The need for qualified criminal justice practitioners is large,” he continued. “Getting high school students on a track pursue their college degrees in the field is vitally important for the successful future of the criminal justice field.”

‘This is a good opportunity’

As part of the program, students will take two courses in-person at AHS taught by an AHS instructor. The University is training AHS faculty during the summer to prepare them to teach the University courses. As seniors, students will take two courses remotely, both taught by University of New Haven faculty.

“Attleboro High School provides a unique three-year criminal justice program with a strong curriculum that prepares students for higher education and future careers in criminal justice,” explains David Myers, Ph.D., chair of the University’s Criminal Justice Department. “We are happy to be collaborating with this school district to provide enhanced high school learning experiences and continued education at the University. This is a great example of how the next generation of criminal justice professionals can be prepared for both the opportunities and challenges associated with a career in criminal justice.”

Students will take courses exploring criminal justice, policing, criminal law, and investigation. It’s an opportunity that students such as Zoe S., a rising senior at AHS, are excited to have.

“This is a good opportunity for our criminal justice class because we will receive college credit for the advanced material we are learning at an affordable cost,” she said. “We will also prove that we are capable of learning at a college level.”