Reimagining the High School Experience
Veritas Prep Charter School was founded as a middle school in 2012 with a mission of preparing students to compete, achieve and succeed in high school, college and beyond. As Veritas grew, so did the number of family members, scholars and parents asking one question: when are we going to start a high school? From this was born the inspiration for Veritas Prep Charter High School.
During the 2020–21 school year, we gathered a diverse high school design team, bringing together Springfield community members, current and former Veritas scholars and families, and Veritas teachers, leaders, and staff. With the right voices at the table, we reimagined what high school can look like and created a compelling, career-focused, early college model aligned to the vision of our Portrait of a Veritas Prep Graduate. We were thrilled to open our high school campus in the fall of 2022, welcoming our inaugural class of 9th-grade scholars.
The Veritas Prep high school program is designed to create the opportunity for scholars to meet essential high school graduation requirements while earning college credits toward useful degrees. Our scholars can earn up to 60 college credits for free, potentially completing two full years of college and even earning an associate degree by high school graduation. Scholars have multiple areas of study to choose from that cover a wide range of high-impact careers including health sciences, engineering, education and more.
Our intensive early college program is entirely free of charge, and with the average cost of college in Massachusetts hitting around $20,000 a year and $36,000 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, we can save students $40,000–$75,000 or more. In addition, the general studies associate degree that students can earn from Springfield Technical Community College while still in high school means they can start as juniors at other Massachusetts public colleges or universities.
We know that too many students across the nation are graduating from high school unprepared for the academic and social/emotional demands of college: 40% of all college students and 60% of Black and Hispanic or Latino students take at least one remedial course in college, adding thousands of dollars to an already high cost of attendance and increasing student debt.
Moreover, 60% percent of college students and 75% percent of Black and Hispanic students will begin college but won’t earn a degree. At Veritas Prep, we say this is unacceptable, so we’ve designed a high school experience to defy these odds for our scholars.
Portrait of a Graduate and Habits of Success
College, Career and Future Ready
- We have a clear future vision
- We plan and act to reach our goals
- We have college and career knowledge and skills
- We cultivate networks and habits to thrive
Learners for Life
- We put people first
- We persist through challenges
- We create, analyze and iterate
- We learn from success and grow from failure
Leaders of Tomorrow
- We speak our truth
- We communicate and collaborate
- We take action for justice
- We own our part
GRADE 9 &10 HABITS OF SUCCESS To promote the portrait indicators
The Habits of Success included below were the behaviors and traits named in our design process by all members of our community to inform our Portrait of a Graduate. In addition, these traits have been cross referenced in college partner meetings and working groups, among early-college peers, and reflect the 21st century skills identified worldwide, as well as the very specific behaviors students must demonstrate to be successful on a daily basis to and through college.
- Time and Task Management:
We are on time, prepare effectively, organize our materials and supplies, plan and pace our tasks.
- Planning for Success:
We set an aspirational vision, set goals and track progress, establish plans for high school, college, and career success.
- Exploring Careers and Colleges:
We build college and career knowledge, explore opportunities and interests, analyze and prepare for college and career requirements.
- Leveraging Resources and Support:
We build networks for success, select and use resources effectively, seek out and leverage support.
- Honoring myself and others:
We build self- knowledge, explore multiple perspectives, celebrate and affirm ourselves and others.
- Learning Focus:
We ask questions to learn, track our learning with notes and tools, engage in tasks and activities, manage and eliminate distractions.
- Iterating and Problem Solving:
We develop and test new ideas, adjust based on evidence, persist through challenges.
- Reflection, Feedback and growth:
We reflect on progress, build on our strengths and learn from failure, use feedback and reflection to grow.
- Effective communication:
We share ideas, use inclusive language, speak our truth and communicate verbally, listen to understand, portray ideas clearly through writing, visuals, and digital tools.
- Inclusive collaboration:
We use inclusive behavior, contribute to successful group work, honor shared agreements, support others to reach our goals.
- Self-Direction and Ownership:
We know our role and tasks, take proactive action to move forward, seek opportunities, follow up and follow through.
- Standing up for justice:
We identify systems of power, oppression and injustice; disrupt injustice; take action for greater equity.
Veritas Prep is a tuition-free, nonselective public charter school. Any student in Springfield can apply to Veritas Prep’s middle school and high school. Students are chosen via a lottery process held each year.