Students participating in a program at Elizabethton High School that focuses on experiential, project-based learning will have an opportunity for guaranteed admission to Tusculum University through an agreement reached between the academic institutions.
Leaders of Tusculum and EHS signed the agreement during a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 29, at the high school. This initiative represents another important link between the Greeneville-based university and local students seeking to further their education. It also provides an opportunity for students enrolled in the Bartleby program to further their academic success at a premier higher education institution.
“Tusculum has enjoyed a proud and longtime connection with school systems throughout Northeast Tennessee and is pleased to take this next step with Bartleby and Elizabethton High,” said Dr. James Hurley, the university’s president. “These students have invested their time wisely in Bartleby and will be excellent additions to our university. We welcome them with open arms and know they will benefit from the cutting-edge and expanding academic programs at Tusculum.”
Classified as an XQ Super School, EHS began the Bartleby program as a pilot in the 2017-18 academic year with the receipt of a $200,000 grant from the XQ Institute. That year, the school initiated a community improvement class and an entrepreneurship class that resulted in 14 projects and five new businesses. The program has grown considerably in its second year. The Bartleby program has grown considerably in its second year – even earning the school a $2.3 million grant. It was recently one of only four school programs in the country to be invited by the U.S. Congress to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington about the future of American education.
“The additional skills that our students have fostered through their work with Bartleby have enhanced the caliber of their education and have helped further prepare them for success at a university or college,” said Josh Boatman, EHS’ principal. “We’re now excited to partner with Tusculum so that students from EHS can explore admission to a university that has been a pillar of higher education and is advancing the quality of its academic programs even further.”
Tusculum and EHS have agreed that students who are active in the program and receive a Bartleby Diploma Seal upon graduation will be offered guaranteed admission to the university. Plus, Tusculum has agreed to waive application fees, essay requirements and reference letters for students who submit a completed Bartleby portfolio.
By submitting the portfolio with their application, these students will be eligible to receive an additional Tusculum scholarship besides any academic scholarships they have already earned. This extra scholarship amounts to $1,000 for students who live on campus and $500 for commuters as long as they meet the criteria, such as having at least a 3.0 grade-point average and a 21 on the ACT or the equivalent on another entrance exam.
The scholarship is renewable each year as long as the student maintains at least a 3.0 GPA and remains in good standing with Tusculum.
The university will also collaborate with the Bartleby director and EHS instructors to provide speakers for the program from Tusculum. EHS teachers will also be able to attend Tusculum’s professional development events, and the university might invite these faculty members to make presentations about the school’s teaching methods.
“We have developed an outstanding program, and our students will be well prepared for college when they graduate,” said Terry Smith, Bartleby’s director. “As these students consider their options for continuing their education, it’s excellent knowing they will have a clear path to admission at Tusculum as long as they follow the guidelines. This is reassuring to students who are seeking to remain in the area for the next phase of their academic career and want to attend an exceptional university.”
This year, EHS has added new enrichment courses that students and teachers have requested, schoolwide project-based learning initiatives, teacher project-based training and many new technological resources.
EHS has also established integrated coursework between some English III and U.S. History classes and a Bartleby Cyclone Experience course for all ninth grade students that focuses on their personal self-development to prepare them to have outstanding high school careers. And it has expanded the Bartleby Community Improvement and Entrepreneurship classes and is working to create senior capstone courses for every senior and a new pathway to earning the Bartleby Diploma Seal.
In addition, the school is developing seven rooms throughout the high school that include:
- An improved commons area with presentation technology
- A television studio
- A performing arts space
- An outdoor classroom
- A virtual reality lab
- A project collaboration area
To help the students further, Tusculum and EHS are encouraging students to begin accumulating college credit while they are still in high school. EHS students will have the opportunity to attend classes on the Tusculum campus in Greeneville or take online courses.
The university will allow the students to participate in the Tusculum Early Post-Secondary Opportunities program for free.
“Our agreement is a perfect fit for Tusculum and EHS’ Bartleby Program because both have a deep commitment to the communities they serve and teach their students the value of civic engagement,” said Dr. Paul Pinckley, the university’s vice president of enrollment management and financial aid. “Bartleby is a strong program, and their students will have a fantastic educational experience with our first-rate faculty and staff who are focused on moving Tusculum forward to the next level of excellence. We’re also thrilled to be able to expand our relationship with the EHS faculty as we share best practices with each other.”