School to help high school students earn college credit
By Justin Vick
Cabarrus County Schools is looking to hire a principal for the new Cabarrus/Kannapolis Early College High School set to open next fall in Concord.
The vacancy calls for a leader with three years of administrative experience and licensed to be a principal. Experience as a principal and high school teacher is also preferred.
The non-traditional school is a collaboration among Cabarrus County Schools, Kannapolis City Schools and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College that will allow high school students to graduate in five years with a diploma and two years of tuition-free college credit.
The school will be housed on RCCC’s South Campus in Concord and admit 50 to 75 rising freshmen from both of the county’s public school systems.
Colleen Sain, assistant superintendent for Cabarrus County Schools, described the new school as another place for students who may not have found a home in a traditional high school setting.
“I think the new school is a good idea,” said Tim Furr, newly elected member of the Cabarrus County Board of Education. “Some children don’t adapt to high school like other kids do. Maybe this is their fit.”
School officials view the new school as a dropout prevention tool.
While Cabarrus County Schools has a higher graduation rate than the state average, dropout prevention was among the most frequent concerns among 17 candidates running for the school board this fall. The system has also set goals to increase the number of students who graduate and attend college in its strategic plan.
“The dropout problem is multifaceted and there is not one answer that’s going to solve it,” Sain said.
Eighth-grade teachers and middle school counselors will identify prospective students, who will then be invited to an open house. The principal is expected to start in March 2009.
Early talks among the partners involved housing the school at RCCC’s biotech lab facility at the North Carolina Research Campus. The school was even dubbed the “North Carolina Research Campus Early College” for some time.
But development of RCCC’s biotech lab building has stalled and is no longer expected to open in time for new school’s fall 2009 opening. Still, officials say students will have opportunities to learn from the research campus.
Sain said the school will operate from joint funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
• Contact reporter Justin Vick: 704-789-9138.