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Bard Sequence is an opportunity for high schools to provide 11th and 12th grade students with engaging, meaningful early college experiences prior to graduation without any financial risk. The model gives students the experience of taking in-person or virtual college courses in a more student-centered, responsive way that helps them develop critical knowledge, skills, confidence, and momentum toward the postsecondary paths of their choosing. Students leave the program with an official Bard College transcript that allows them to transfer their credits to a wide range of institutions of higher education. 

In partnership with schools, Bard Sequence, commonly referred to as Sequence, focuses on serving first-generation college students, low-income students, and students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. As a dual enrollment program offered in virtual and in-person formats, it gives students from around the nation access to high-quality, experienced, Bard-trained college teachers. They also have access to the liberal arts education that is a hallmark of Bard College, which seeks to prepare students not for a specific vocation but for encountering the world as critical, innovative, informed thinkers.

Sequence works closely with school and district administrators and teachers to make sure it fits into the particular structure and culture of an individual school. Sequence is never a “one size fits all” partnership; rather, it is a collaborative, ongoing relationship whose success—measured by the success and confidence of students—depends upon details and communication. 

Launched in 2019, Sequence has expanded from 2 partnerships in the New York/New Jersey area to serve over 15 partner high schools across 8 metro areas and 4 states. Bard Sequence Overview

  • Cognitive Thinking Skills
  • Language Arts & Literacy
  • Postsecondary Knowledge & Assets
  • College Prep and Planning
  • Cohort Learning Communities
  • 1:1 Coaching & Consulting
  • Professional Development
  • School Visits

What Makes This Model Innovative?

Active Self-Direction
By engaging high-school students in college-level coursework, Bard Sequence encourages ownership of learning and fosters the agency needed for success in college and beyond.
Social Consciousness & Action
The Bard Sequence curriculum is designed to engage students in issues of social justice and equity so they can become informed, active citizens.
Affirmation of Self & Others
Bard Sequence helps students develop a stronger sense of self through personal achievement within a culturally responsive curriculum that explores identity, power, and redemption.

Goals

Bard Sequence enables students to develop the skills they need to be successful in higher education while building confidence and earning college credits:

Critical Thinking

Students question dominant narratives, interpret complicated concepts and texts, and organize their thoughts into structured arguments.

Critical Reading

Students build and practice postsecondary reading skills by examining the language and structure of texts and analyzing them for meaning from different perspectives.

Written Communication

Students articulate ideas and arguments in a thorough manner that reflects composition that is both planned and edited.

Verbal Communication

Students know how to actively share insights and ask questions to add value to classroom discussions and elevate the collective discourse.

Experience

Bard Sequence consists of two yearlong courses that provide students with an authentic experience of college-level academics as they earn 12 tuition-free transferable credits from Bard College. Students work with specially trained college professors who enjoy working with high-school-aged youth and can help them develop the skills necessary to succeed in college.

In Sequence Seminar, students explore themes of identity, civilization, disruption, and resistance through the discussion of a set of challenging and culturally responsive works of literature, philosophy, art, and beyond, spanning the range of human history. In Sequence Electives, students explore a range of topics based on the interests and needs of partner schools and the academic background of Sequence faculty. Each course is designed to pique students’ interest in culturally affirming, diverse subjects and is updated each semester based on feedback from partners. If both are offered by the school, students can concurrently enroll in Sequence Seminar and Sequence Electives. Bard Sequence Course Descriptions

Within a Bard Sequence classroom, the student experience is structured by writing and discussion practices that foster ownership in learning. The use of personal contexts and relationships also contributes to the investment that students make in the learning process.

Bard Sequence Writing and Thinking Pedagogy is a unique approach to learning that is used across the Bard College network. The pedagogy places a strong emphasis on frequent “focused free writes,” where students are given topical questions and a brief period of time to respond with informal writing. Students are encouraged to think critically about a question and to explore it from different angles and perspectives, rather than simply providing a “good enough” answer. By incorporating informal writing into more formal academic writing, students have the space to think and write without the pressure of conforming to a specific form or structure. Ways of Responding

One of the benefits of this pedagogy is that it helps students bridge the gap between the excitement of new ideas and the challenge of putting those ideas into formal writing. This is particularly important for a generation of students who have grown up with text messaging and social media. The Bard Sequence links students across time and space as they work through challenging texts together. Students begin by creating Flip videos that their peers at other Sequence sites can view and comment on. Exceptional students are invited to present at an annual Bard Sequence Seminar conference where students share their analytical essays with their peers and discuss common texts. Finally, several students are invited to participate in a podcast. Bard Sequence Seminar Conference 2024 Bard Sequence Seminar Podcast

For students, the power of Bard’s Writing and Thinking Pedagogy comes from its use of informal writing and collaboration to prompt critical thinking. It does this by positioning students to bridge the gap between informal thinking and formal writing as they explore new ideas and perspectives in higher education. Many college students struggle with their writing. Bard Sequence teaches students how to build on informal, focused free writing and other low-stakes writing assignments to construct formal, analytical essays grounded in evidence. Multiple rounds of instructor and peer feedback followed by revision cycles teach students how the writing process can help them improve their writing and produce real, college-level work.

Discussion is a mainstay of Sequence courses that helps students experience a genuine element of many college courses. Using Socratic Seminar principles like text-centered discussion and open-ended questions, students engage in dialogue that helps them think through complex ideas from different perspectives and express their thoughts as part of a collaborative learning process.

Students are expected to be prepared to actively engage in discussions and shape them by listening to and reflecting on what is said and contributing their own thoughts in a constructive manner. Professors moderate discussions, but students must share insights and question one another in order to make these discussions intellectually stimulating. The respect required in these discussions allows students to challenge their own ideas and assumptions, as well as the ideas of their peers. In this way, seminar discussions are opportunities for students to develop empathy as they learn more about how people think.

As part of its student-centered philosophy, Sequence courses include structures for students to share their knowledge and perspectives with one another. These structures foster community and trust in the classroom so that students feel safe taking the intellectual risks that result in intellectual growth.

As they work to analyze course materials in small and large groups, students are able to deepen their individual perspectives by sharing them with their classmates and by considering counterarguments. This process requires that students take responsibility not only for their learning but for the learning and growth of the other members of the community. In this kind of communal space, students are able to take intellectual risks that result in growth and achievement.

Supporting Structures

The Bard Sequence model can be adopted by any school that is willing to make shifts in curriculum, adult roles and hiring, and budget and operations.

The foundation of Bard Sequence is the college-level curriculum that schools adopt as part of the model.

Schools interested in implementing the Sequence model must use the curriculum developed by Bard as part of a dual enrollment program. This curriculum is designed to encourage and support first-generation college students. It gives students the chance to improve, take chances, and make and learn from mistakes in every class, rather than having their learning and college credit ride on the outcome of a single paper or exam.

The dual enrollment program offered by schools must not be geared toward specific adult careers in fields like healthcare, business, the trades, or criminology. Instead, to adopt the Sequence model they must focus on introspection, questioning, and exploration because these are precisely the skills that historically underrepresented students need in order to address the inequities of their world and envision themselves as independent, critical thinkers within it. 

Schools adopting the model must also support accountability around attendance and synchronous learning. The strength of Bard Sequence is the learning community it builds by having students learn from and alongside each other as they interact with a college professor who can guide them through the rigors of their studies. Bard Sequence professors understand that they are working with high-school students and give them multiple paths to success in their classes. Students are assessed holistically including through their attendance and participation, daily writings and short writing assignments, and major thematic essays.

Schools must be committed to creating more opportunities for students to consider college as a viable option. 

Schools adopting the Sequence model must be committed to creating positive, meaningful learning experiences for students that draw away the veil of mystery and fear surrounding college and transform the pursuit of college-level learning and a college degree into a concrete, immediate, and attainable goal. To support this, Sequence monitors and tabulates data on student matriculation to best allocate resources to courses and students to find solutions so that our instructors can continue to hold high standards of rigor while avoiding penalizing students for their desire to take on the challenge of a college course. 

In general, Bard Sequence seeks to strengthen the learning environment of the partner schools as a whole. Implementing a college curriculum in the same space and community as traditional high-school programming allows more students to begin to wonder if college is an option for them. In addition to this, high-school and college instructors engage in both formal and informal opportunities to strengthen their pedagogical practice.

Sequence faculty must be recruited, selected, trained, and mentored by Bard College. 

Because Sequence students earn credits from Bard College, all faculty must be recruited, selected (with the approval of the partner), trained, and mentored by Bard and have a terminal degree, typically a PhD, in the humanities or social sciences along with prior teaching experience. Partner schools have two options to staff Bard Sequence: Bard College hires the instructor to teach at the partner high school as an adjunct or full-time professor; or the partner high school hires the instructor as a full-time member of their teaching faculty who teaches four sections of Bard Sequence Seminar. 

Sequence faculty training includes pre- and in-service professional development and ongoing coaching in early college pedagogy, drawn from Bard’s deep experience in training college instructors to teach younger scholars, to support instructors in presenting the early college curriculum to students at the specific partner school.

Bard Sequence courses are taught by veteran Bard professors who are trained in writing and thinking to work specifically with younger students. Beyond being experts in their fields, Sequence professors enter the virtual classroom with the knowledge that their students are encountering college for the first time and they are equipped with the interest and pedagogical skills needed to smooth this transition. Faculty must know that it is their job to help students learn how to seek support from college professors and gain academic confidence as they develop the sense that they belong in college.

Bard is committed to forming lasting partnerships with schools offering Bard Sequence. Schools adopting Sequence must have a designated liaison to ensure effective implementation of courses. Bard Early College staff support the program by providing ongoing academic support and oversight and making programmatic adjustments as needed.

Schools can customize Sequence scheduling based on their existing schedules but must meet minimum seat hours. 

Schools typically incorporate Bard Sequence into their existing course offerings so that they fit into the daily schedule. When that is not possible and it is necessary to accommodate different student schedules, virtual courses are offered after school. 

There are a number of different models for scheduling based on the partner school’s needs and schedules. Some Bard Sequence Seminar classes meet twice a week for block scheduled classes and others meet four or five times per week for shorter periods. Bard works within the schedule of the partner school as long as minimum seat hours are fulfilled and it is clear that the course will be able to be successful based on the schedule.

Adopting the model requires a financial commitment to ensure that students can enroll in a Sequence program for free. 

Student participation in Bard Sequence must be free. Schools adopting the model must carry the costs that include compensation for the instructor (either embedded as a full-time employee or paid as an adjunct), professional development (either for the Sequence instructor alone or for some or all teachers at the school), and Bard College academic oversight and support. Bard College works with partner sites to determine a sustainable pricing model.

Participation in the Sequence must not be based on GPA requirements, standardized exam score requirements, or other academic or financial barriers to student access. In general, the Sequence is advertised as a program for first-generation college learners, students from low-income families and historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and students who may not have been deemed “college-bound” by their high-school records or even their own interests. 

Students applying to Sequence programs need only to submit a writing sample and answer a series of basic interest questions or interview with a member of the Sequence team. The questions and interviews screen a desire to take on the challenge of college learning by coming to class, participating actively in discussions, and being open to the intellectual expansion that a great college course can offer.

The foundation of Bard Sequence is the college-level curriculum that schools adopt as part of the model.

Schools interested in implementing the Sequence model must use the curriculum developed by Bard as part of a dual enrollment program. This curriculum is designed to encourage and support first-generation college students. It gives students the chance to improve, take chances, and make and learn from mistakes in every class, rather than having their learning and college credit ride on the outcome of a single paper or exam.

The dual enrollment program offered by schools must not be geared toward specific adult careers in fields like healthcare, business, the trades, or criminology. Instead, to adopt the Sequence model they must focus on introspection, questioning, and exploration because these are precisely the skills that historically underrepresented students need in order to address the inequities of their world and envision themselves as independent, critical thinkers within it. 

Schools adopting the model must also support accountability around attendance and synchronous learning. The strength of Bard Sequence is the learning community it builds by having students learn from and alongside each other as they interact with a college professor who can guide them through the rigors of their studies. Bard Sequence professors understand that they are working with high-school students and give them multiple paths to success in their classes. Students are assessed holistically including through their attendance and participation, daily writings and short writing assignments, and major thematic essays.

Schools must be committed to creating more opportunities for students to consider college as a viable option. 

Schools adopting the Sequence model must be committed to creating positive, meaningful learning experiences for students that draw away the veil of mystery and fear surrounding college and transform the pursuit of college-level learning and a college degree into a concrete, immediate, and attainable goal. To support this, Sequence monitors and tabulates data on student matriculation to best allocate resources to courses and students to find solutions so that our instructors can continue to hold high standards of rigor while avoiding penalizing students for their desire to take on the challenge of a college course. 

In general, Bard Sequence seeks to strengthen the learning environment of the partner schools as a whole. Implementing a college curriculum in the same space and community as traditional high-school programming allows more students to begin to wonder if college is an option for them. In addition to this, high-school and college instructors engage in both formal and informal opportunities to strengthen their pedagogical practice.

Sequence faculty must be recruited, selected, trained, and mentored by Bard College. 

Because Sequence students earn credits from Bard College, all faculty must be recruited, selected (with the approval of the partner), trained, and mentored by Bard and have a terminal degree, typically a PhD, in the humanities or social sciences along with prior teaching experience. Partner schools have two options to staff Bard Sequence: Bard College hires the instructor to teach at the partner high school as an adjunct or full-time professor; or the partner high school hires the instructor as a full-time member of their teaching faculty who teaches four sections of Bard Sequence Seminar. 

Sequence faculty training includes pre- and in-service professional development and ongoing coaching in early college pedagogy, drawn from Bard’s deep experience in training college instructors to teach younger scholars, to support instructors in presenting the early college curriculum to students at the specific partner school.

Bard Sequence courses are taught by veteran Bard professors who are trained in writing and thinking to work specifically with younger students. Beyond being experts in their fields, Sequence professors enter the virtual classroom with the knowledge that their students are encountering college for the first time and they are equipped with the interest and pedagogical skills needed to smooth this transition. Faculty must know that it is their job to help students learn how to seek support from college professors and gain academic confidence as they develop the sense that they belong in college.

Bard is committed to forming lasting partnerships with schools offering Bard Sequence. Schools adopting Sequence must have a designated liaison to ensure effective implementation of courses. Bard Early College staff support the program by providing ongoing academic support and oversight and making programmatic adjustments as needed.

Schools can customize Sequence scheduling based on their existing schedules but must meet minimum seat hours. 

Schools typically incorporate Bard Sequence into their existing course offerings so that they fit into the daily schedule. When that is not possible and it is necessary to accommodate different student schedules, virtual courses are offered after school. 

There are a number of different models for scheduling based on the partner school’s needs and schedules. Some Bard Sequence Seminar classes meet twice a week for block scheduled classes and others meet four or five times per week for shorter periods. Bard works within the schedule of the partner school as long as minimum seat hours are fulfilled and it is clear that the course will be able to be successful based on the schedule.

Adopting the model requires a financial commitment to ensure that students can enroll in a Sequence program for free. 

Student participation in Bard Sequence must be free. Schools adopting the model must carry the costs that include compensation for the instructor (either embedded as a full-time employee or paid as an adjunct), professional development (either for the Sequence instructor alone or for some or all teachers at the school), and Bard College academic oversight and support. Bard College works with partner sites to determine a sustainable pricing model.

Participation in the Sequence must not be based on GPA requirements, standardized exam score requirements, or other academic or financial barriers to student access. In general, the Sequence is advertised as a program for first-generation college learners, students from low-income families and historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and students who may not have been deemed “college-bound” by their high-school records or even their own interests. 

Students applying to Sequence programs need only to submit a writing sample and answer a series of basic interest questions or interview with a member of the Sequence team. The questions and interviews screen a desire to take on the challenge of college learning by coming to class, participating actively in discussions, and being open to the intellectual expansion that a great college course can offer.

Supports Offered

Bard Sequence offers the following supports to help you implement its approach. The Sequence model depends on partner schools being involved in all decisions, including scheduling, hiring faculty, and providing continuing support for students through active communication with administrators and advisors.

The Bard Early College Network
Cost Associated

Bard College helps partner schools staff Bard Sequence courses. It also trains Seminar instructors to ensure that the college credits students earn reflect Bard College standards. 

Bard Sequence is part of the Bard Early College network of schools, which currently includes 10 Bard Early College schools across 6 states. As part of being enrolled in Bard Sequence, students have the opportunity to visit Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York as well as collaborate with peers across the Bard network.

Bard College Institute for Writing & Thinking
Cost Associated

Bard Sequence draws on over 20 years of pedagogical innovations developed in the Bard High School Early Colleges to support both professors and students. The Institute for Writing and Thinking helps teachers explore writing-based teaching methods, rethink the role of writing across the curriculum, and cultivate new ways for students to read and respond to texts in the classroom.

Bard Sequence Program Visits
Free

Bard Sequence is always happy to host prospective partners or anyone looking to learn more about the Sequence program at one of its partner sites.

Reach

13
Partner Schools
4
States
4,000+
College Credits Awarded Since 2019
95%
Students of Color

Impact

The average student graduating from Bard Sequence earns 12 college credits. In some programs in which partner schools offer both Sequence Seminars and Sequence Electives, students have the opportunity to earn as many as 18 credits in 2 years.

Bard Sequence supports the success of high-school students in college-level courses.

  • In the fall of 2022, 91% of all students passed their Bard Sequence courses.
  • 84% of students agree that Bard Sequence challenges them to grow as a student.

In Washington, DC Sequence courses:

  • 72% of students enrolled in a 2/4-year degree program: 96% enrolled in 4-year degree programs; 4% enrolled in 2-year degree programs.
  • As of fall 2023, 52% of DC Sequence students were actively enrolled in a postsecondary institution. 
  • Of the DC Sequence students who enrolled in 2/4-year degree programs, 53% persisted beyond the first year.

Contact

Matthew Park
Executive Director Bard Sequence