GCS to Consider Early College at N.C. A&T

Under a proposal presented to the Guilford County Board of Education on July 12, North Carolina A&T State University could become home to a new early college of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The early college would become the second of its kind in the district, joining The Early College at Guilford, and also would be the district's second location at A&T, which already houses The Middle College at A&T, an all-male school of about 100 students. If approved, the new program would open in the fall of 2012.

An early college at A&T would be designed to serve the surplus of students who have expressed interest in attending one of the district's other middle colleges or academy programs. As of June 23, nearly 700 students were on a waiting list for one of the district's eight early or middle colleges or six academy programs.

"North Carolina A&T is renowned for its science and technology curriculum," says Chief Academic Officer Dr. Beth Folger. "This partnership would create world-class opportunities for our students in fields that are lucrative and in high demand."

The early college would offer a high level of rigor for up to 200 students, who would enter in ninth grade enrolled in high school honors courses and in 10th grade enroll in Advanced Placement courses. By grades 11 and 12, these students would enroll in all college-level courses, graduating high school with two years of college credit toward a four-year degree.

In GCS, an early college program is different than a middle college, which is typically directed toward students who are not meeting their full potential in the traditional classroom setting. The Early College at Guilford was recently named No. 19 on Newsweek's list of the best high schools in the country and consistently achieves both a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent proficiency score on End of Course testing.

Guilford County Schools is a national leader in early and middle college opportunities, and the district's strategic plan calls for expanding access to academic rigor, providing more challenging opportunities to GCS students and accelerating school reform. The district's newest middle college, a health sciences program at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, will open to its first class of students Aug. 10.