Early colleges not only route to diploma, degree


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Early college high schools like those in Currituck and Camden counties and the one slated to open in Pasquotank this fall offer a structured way for students to take college courses while attending high school. But students at any high school in North Carolina are eligible to take community college courses tuition-free through the state's Career and College Promise program.

The region has three early college high schools: J.P. Knapp in Currituck, Camden Early College High School in Camden, and the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Early College slated to open in Pasquotank County Aug. 7. Each of the schools serves students in its school district who wish to take college courses while attending high school and who demonstrate the academic ability to perform college coursework while in high school.

But high school students who are willing and able to pursue college coursework more independently are able to take community college courses tuition-free through the Career and College Promise program.

The Edenton-Chowan Schools opted to make use of the Career and College Promise program instead of establishing a separate early college high school in the district.

Edenton-Chowan Schools Superintendent Rob Jackson said this week the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education discussed establishing an early college but ultimately decided not to. The decision was influenced partly by the relatively small size of the county’s one high school, John A. Holmes High School in Edenton.

But Holmes High School students have exhibited success with Career and College Promise. In 2017, Daniel Midgett pioneered the program for Chowan students, graduating from College of The Albemarle with an associate degree prior to earning his diploma from the high school.

This year's graduating class at Holmes featured Sabrina Rogerson, who likewise graduated in four years with an associate degree as well as a high school diploma.

Jackson said he anticipates having as many as six graduates in the Class of 2018 who earn associate degrees by the time they receive their high school diplomas. He noted they would have to successfully complete the necessary courses in the coming school year, but at this point they're on pace to do that.

Jackson said Midgett and Rogerson have motivated younger students to see that earning both an associate degree and a high school diploma are possible.

"I think what we have works very well for us," Jackson said of the district's participation in Career and College Promise.

Career and College Promise is not just for those extremely motivated students able to earn both a degree and a diploma within four years, however.

It also allows students to simply begin taking courses either on a college transfer track or on a career and technical education track toward a certification or diploma in a particular technical field or career area.

More information about Career and College Promise is available at www.nccommunitycolleges.edu/academic-programs/career-college-promise or www.ncpublicschools.org/ccp/.