Published: Jan 15, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 15, 2013 05:06 PM
Clement Early College High School, located on the campus of N.C. Central University, is a national model.
Its program allows students to meet all high school graduation requirements and earn up to two years of college credit during their four years of high school.
In its 10 years, the school has increased enrollment from 84 to nearly 400. Each level of the four high school years is capped at 100 students. Students may enter only during the freshman year.
Students who qualify to attend Clement Early College have attended public schools, private schools or been home schooled.
Their families often have no college experience and an income that qualifies them to receive free or reduced lunch. Many of the families do not speak English at home.
The Early School meets in the former Robinson Science Building. During a recent visit the atmosphere was quiet. One class was studying the movie West Side Story as an introduction to Romeo and Juliet. Across the hall students in a math class were solving advanced problems.
During the first two years of the Early College High School the students take high school level courses in their high school. After successfully completing these requirements, the students take college level courses and earn up two years of college credit. These classes are taken on the NCCU campus with the college students who are enrolled there. Ninety-eight percent of the students graduate from Clement Early College High School.
The school has its own staff of administrators, teachers, support staff and budget. The principal is Gloria Woods-Weeks. Before coming to the Clement Early School a year ago, she received the N.C. Assistant Principal of the Year award while at East Chapel Hill High School.
During her short time at Clement Early College High School Woods-Weeks has established a special relationship with each student. She meets them at the entrance to the building every morning. She calls each student by name, asks about sports games in which they are involved and connects with them on subjects they are taking and asks if there are any problems. The students respect her and know that she is supporting them.
Clement Early College High School has received support from many sources, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SECME Foundation, New Schools Project, and the N. C. Learn and Earn Early College High School which was an initiative of former Gov. Mike Easley.JoAnne DeWitt lives in Durham.
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