Brave new plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2005

Local education professionals presented a brave new plan Wednesday night.

This team of educators invited the public to a community meeting at Roanoke-Chowan Community College to hear about the team’s plan to create a new school in Hertford County known as Early College High School.

The team should be applauded for their courage in their endeavor to create this alternative high school.

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Public education in this country is often maligned, but this group of dedicated professionals is thinking “out of the box” to improve the educational experience for high school students in this area. New ideas and change are often met with resistance and they are even harder to implement, but this team is committed to the concept of Early College High School.

Although society and the workplace have changed quite a bit in the past 30 years, radically in some areas, the traditional high school curriculum and format have not changed much during this time period.

Many jobs in the industrial sector are no longer available and have been moved off-shore and fewer and fewer Americans can depend on agriculture to pay the bills. Students must be prepared for a workplace where technology is central and constantly changing.

With grants from the Governor’s office and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this new school will focus on tapping the potential of students, especially those who are struggling in the traditional high school setting.

The team was assigned a highly skilled and trained coach to serve as an expert facilitator for a one year period. The coach, in cooperation with North Carolina’s New Schools Project, facilitates the planning process to ensure the team has adequate time and support to prepare a high quality implementation proposal.

Instead of sticking with the status quo or accepting defeat, this team has taken major steps to create a plan for a new school that should motivate and educate students who are not meeting their potential. According to the team, the staff for the new school will participate in ongoing development.

Some team members even traveled to Portland, Oregon to view a similar school and learn more about the concept.

Graduation rates are suffering across the country and, according to statistics, 60 of 100 students that enter high school in North Carolina do not graduate and only 19 of those students end up graduating from college. By pursuing relevant subjects and providing a more flexible schedule, students at risk should find more reasons to stick around and finish school.

Local businesses and government leaders should support this team and become involved in this new concept.

Their future as well as the future of area students is at stake.