County College of Morris, Morris School District partnership aims to help more students advance to college

All studies indicate that any type of postsecondary education attainment can have a big impact on students — especially first-generation college students.

It’s one of the reasons the County College of Morris began its promise programs, initiatives between the top-ranked community college and area towns that help low-income students begin to construct a path to higher education — including dollars to help.

Earlier this week, CCM announced that Morristown High School and the Morris School District were the latest to join the program that aims to “empower dreams.”

CCM President Tony Iacono was thrilled to make the announcement.

“As the community’s college, CCM’s college promise programs are designed to ensure all students have access to a great education,” he said. “CCM, the Morris School District and the community are committed to ensuring more students are college ready, have access and can affordably achieve their educational and career goals.”

The partnership program, which began in 2020, aims to help motivated, low-income middle and high school students and their families by offering free services, such as tutoring and mentoring, while preparing students to go to college.

Students will participate in a series of activities designed to prepare them to navigate the college application process, sharpen their academic skills and help them become master students. Students will receive a CCM Foundation scholarship to assist in covering their college tuition, securing their path to CCM college success.

These programs will facilitate educational workshops, tutoring services, field trips and community-based service learning projects. Assisting with those efforts will be CCM faculty, students and staff, who will serve as mentors.

The programs will offer bilingual (Spanish) parent/guardian information sessions to help support the family’s potential college bound student.

Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus said the program is all about finding a path.

“This program is an example of walking the talk in Morris County,” he said. “It encourages students to not give up and helps them get beyond their obstacles.”

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (D-Chester) agreed.

“We talk about how we are in many ways reformatting post-secondary education to adapt to students’ needs, but there’s no question it remains the best investment we can make by helping students attend college,” she said.

The program has proven to work. A similar effort in Dover already has helped 19 students advance to CCM.

Morris School District Superintendent Anne Mucci is confident the program will have a big impact.

“The Morris School District serves a student body that is 35% first-generation, and the Morristown College Promise Program takes direct aim at removing barriers through practical support systems that help guide students to a successful college experience and future career,” she said.

CCM officials said the school intends to open additional partnerships in the county.