What is an Early College?
North Carolina New Schools Project, our partner in innovative high school reform, explains:
Students in early college high schools graduate with both a high school diploma and two years of transferable college credit or an associate's degree. In most cases, early college students stay in high school five years to complete those college courses. Located on the campuses of two- and four-year colleges and universities, early college high schools are intended to attract students who often are under-represented in college: minorities, students from low-income families and those whose parents never attended college. (http://newschoolsproject.org/schools/school-models/early-college)
North Carolina is now a national leader in developing early colleges. Since 2005, the number of early college high schools in North Carolina has increased more than fivefold, from 13 to 70. Nationally, about 200 early college high schools are open in 24 states.
Buncombe County Early College (BCEC) is an exciting partnership between Buncombe County Schools, the North Carolina New Schools Project and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College that promises to offer unique educational opportunities for a diverse group of students. Located on the A-B TECH campus, students attending BCEC's innovative high school have the opportunity to earn an associate degree or as much as two years of transferable credit along with their high school diploma. Employing the New Schools Project design principles, the school's mission is to redefine teaching and learning through innovative best practices by offering interdisciplinary courses, project-based learning, and a focus on college readiness. The school also provides ongoing affective and academic support in a small school setting to help students meet the high expectations of the Early College model.
Due to the challenging schedule required to earn an Associate degree and a high school diploma in five years, Early College does not offer many of the comprehensive services found in traditional high schools such as sports, art and music, or clubs. Students who are especially interested in sports, the arts, or other traditional extracurricular activities may find the traditional high school to be a better fit for them. Another aspect of Early College's rigorous course work is that bus transportation to and from our campus is available only to first- and second-year students. Older students are required to provide their own transportation in order to accommodate a flexible schedule.
Faculty Members share a celebratory moment during Earth Shine 2010
Buncombe County Early College
Design Principles for High School Innovation Projects
Because each child in every school is entitled to achieving high academic and social/emotional outcomes, Early College teachers and administrators are committed to following the five design principles for High School Innovation Projects. The principles that lead our high school transformation are: