Like Academy or College Preparatory or Country Day, “Early College” for high school students is a category of school. Like these other categories, it can mean different things for different schools. 

What Early College means at Fontbonne is that we are intentionally designing and sustaining a student-centered learning environment that is collegiate in (1) curriculum, (2) pedagogy, (3) culture, and (4) student life experience. 

Our Early College emphasis will enable us to programmatically maximize your 11th and 12th Grader’s ability to attain transferable college credit while cultivating those distinct characteristics, attributes, and skills she would have otherwise acquired during her freshman or sophomore year in college. 

Please take a few minutes to review the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about Early College. Additionally, Barbara Ryder, our Assistant Head of School for Academics, is pleased to respond to your questions via email at BRyder@FontbonneAcademy.org or schedule a time to speak by phone.


Early College FAQ's


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Does “Early College” mean Fontbonne is no longer a high school?

Fontbonne’s emphasis on Early College does not change its accreditation status. Fontbonne remains an accredited high school. Additionally, we will continue to field competitive Athletics teams in the MIAA, facilitate a best-in-class Performing Arts program, and support numerous and very diverse co-curriculars.

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When will students begin to experience changes related to the “Early College” initiative?

Students already benefit from Fontbonne’s pioneering dual enrollment relationships and college-level (and college credit earning) courses. We anticipate implementing more and innovative modifications to our curriculum, pedagogy, culture, and student life experience as early as School Year 2019-2020, with full implementation by School Year 2021-2022. This means that students who begin their freshwoman year in September 2019 will be the first graduating class to experience the full Early College initiative.

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Will Early College change Fontbonne’s admissions criteria?

No, our Admissions criteria will not change, nor will the high standards and expectations we already maintain for our students. Fontbonne will continue to expertly support students with diverse learning interests and abilities. This is fundamental to our Mission.

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Why talk about “Early College” now if it’s not going to be fully implemented until 2021?

While we anticipate School Year 2021-2022 to be the first year of implementation, this is not like flicking a light switch when you enter a room. There will be ongoing enhancements to our curriculum, pedagogy, culture, and student life experience month to month, semester to semester, and year to year. Continuing with our ‘light switch’ metaphor, imagine this implementation cycle as a dimmer (instead of a switch) where we are gradually brightening the light. Additionally, some elements of our planning might crystalize earlier than expected. As such, we may find ourselves ahead of schedule. Finally, because we are currently recruiting 8th Graders who will benefit from the Early College experience should they choose Fontbonne, we feel it our obligation to be transparent with these girls and their families. (Note: plus, we’re really, really excited and proud.)

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How is Fontbonne “the Early College of Boston” if the campus is in Milton?

There are three parts to answering this question. First and very importantly, Fontbonne is a mission of not just the Sisters of St. Joseph, but of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. We are of Boston. It is part of our school’s legacy. Second, when we travel outside Massachusetts and people ask us where we work, we refer to Fontbonne as being part of Boston. “I work at Fontbonne in Boston.” We say this because it is the most proximate major city, with Boston neighborhoods bordering Milton. Finally, we associate ourselves with the strengths of the City of Boston, and would like Boston families to know that they can and should consider us a choice for your daughters.

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Does “Early College” change the name of Fontbonne?

No. We are not legally changing our school name. We are also not changing our seal. That is worth repeating - we are not changing our school seal. Instead, we are removing the word “Academy” from public-facing applications like signage, our website, and business cards and stationery. When students, parents, alumnae, teachers, and staff talk about our school, they refer to it as “Fontbonne”. They very, very rarely include the word “Academy” when talking about the school. Given our long history, that’s not a surprise. Generations of students and alumnae have humbly earned us the right to go by this one-word name. 

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I am a sophomore at Fontbonne today. Will it say “Early College” on my diploma?

No. Diplomas will not include the category description “Early College”. Fontbonne Academy is not changing its name. Every student enrolled in Fontbonne today will receive the same diploma upon graduation as each senior received when she graduated in 2018.

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What is a “transferable college credit”?

What we mean at Fontbonne by “transferable college credit” is this - your daughter will take classes at Fontbonne that a college recognizes for college credit. These classes are part of Fontbonne’s curriculum. In fact, our college partner(s) will provide her with a formal transcript that memorializes she has earned these credits. Furthermore, other colleges may also recognize these credits. Fontbonne currently maintains this model of partnership with one Boston-area college and is actively seeking to extend this model to other colleges and universities across Boston and beyond.