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Jobs for the Future

More than 200 early college high schools serving 50,000 students have opened across the United States since 2002--and they are achieving results. Eighty-six percent of early college graduates enroll in college immediately after high school, compared with two-thirds of high school graduates nationwide. Of the 3,000 early college graduates in 2009, a quarter had earned two full years of college credit or an Associate's degree. Half of all states have at least one early college, but North Carolina leads the nation with 71 early colleges, each located on the campus of a partnering higher education institution. In 2004, North Carolina launched a statewide early college initiative as a strategy for preparing students for the education needed in a post-manufacturing knowledge economy. Students typically graduate in four or five years, earning up to two years of college credit and compressing the time to a postsecondary degree. With the support of the North Carolina New Schools Project, a public-private organization that develops innovative high schools, North Carolina now has the most early colleges of any state and substantial data about what works. In 2010, the North Carolina New Schools Project named five early colleges as "Innovators"--based on their highly effective strategies to prepare all students for postsecondary education. Three of the Innovators, Anson County Early College, Buncombe County Early College, and Davidson County Early College, are among the state's first early colleges and offer five years of lessons in preparing high school students for college rigor. The other two Innovator schools, Vance County Early College and Warren Early College, opened in the 2008 school year and offer emerging examples of practices that accelerate the academic progress of all students. In spring 2010, the North Carolina New Schools Project invited these five schools to share their practices at the Best Practices Institute, a conference designed to help spread highly effective practices among North Carolina early colleges. This report incorporates and expands on the strategies and lessons shared there, with specific examples of how these college readiness approaches are implemented in the schools on a daily basis. (Contains 2 footnotes.)

Descriptors: High Schools, Academic Achievement, High School Graduates, College Graduates, College Credits, Counties, Organizations (Groups), Higher Education, Acceleration (Education), Dual Enrollment, College Preparation, Difficulty Level, Educational Innovation

Jobs for the Future. 88 Broad Street 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 617-728-4446; Fax: 617-728-4857; e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Autor: Le, Cecilia; Frankfort, Jill


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