Monday, November 2, 2015

Improving the Future of Quality with Early College High Schools



North Carolina (U.S.) has increased high school graduation rates and achievement with early college high schools. These high schools are offered by local school districts and coordinated with institutions of higher learning as an alternative to the local high school. Students typically attend the school for 5 years rather than 4. Along with completing high school classes, students enroll in college classes at no cost to them. Upon graduation, they receive a high school diploma as well as an Associates degree (or college credit).

Early college high school programs are customized to fit the host campus. Franklin County Early College High School in Louisburg, North Carolina, is located next to the Franklin Campus of Vance-Granville Community College. This allows students to earn an Associates of Arts and Sciences. Wake Early College of Health and Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina, partners with Wake Technical Community College and WakeMed Health and Hospitals. Students can earn a degree, diploma, or certificate in a health or sciences field.
Wake STEM* Early College is located on the North Carolina State University campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, and emphasizes a strong STEM-based education. Students can earn up to 2 years of college credit. The 4-minute video below has interviews that cover the demographics and features of the program.



In 2010 there were 70 early college high schools in North Carolina. Students that would be first generation college students are given admission preference.

North Carolina New Schools is a nonprofit that supports the early college program as well as other innovative high school programs designed to improve high school graduation rates and academic success. In 2014 they were awarded a $20 million Federal Grant to ramp up efforts towards early college programs.

The 5-minute video below features a Caldwell County Early College High School graduate's story. In 2012 Amelia Hawkins received a full scholarship to Princeton University.


Edwin Garro, ASQ Fellow, has written about a High School Quality and Productivity Technical degree program in Costa Rica. The program was developed to address a shortage of quality technicians in FDA regulated industries. His article, A Day with the Future of Quality, can be found here.

*Acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

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