School is making the grade|In its first year, BCECHS reaches its AYP objectives

Published 11:07 am Friday, August 7, 2009

By Staff
Staff Reports
Beaufort County Early College High School started its second year of classes Thursday, with some good news about the school’s first year of existence.
Earlier this week, the school, located on the campus of Beaufort County Community College, learned it made adequate yearly progress in meeting its goals established under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation — the only high school in the county to do so, according to officials with Beaufort County Schools.
Of those ninth-grade students who enrolled in the school last year, about 40 percent were performing their school work below grade level, according to a BCCC news release. But at the end of the school year an average of 80 percent of students were performing at or above grade level in end-of-year tests in English I, Algebra I, geometry, physical science and civics and economics. The highest end-of-grade success rate was recorded in English I, in which more than 85 percent of students performed at or above grade level, according to school statistics.
“These scores show that under the right conditions, with the best teachers in the county, these students can succeed,” said Principal Todd Blumenreich.
The delay in posting the results for the school can be attributed to its status as a special-evaluation school. Results for other public schools in the county were released earlier this summer. Under No Child Left Behind legislation, typical AYP designation requires 40 or more students to equal a monitored subgroup.
Because the school had just under 50 students for its first year, it could not be assessed under standard guidelines for AYP. Test scores and other data were used to make assessments for the school and other special-evaluation schools.
Given the school’s success to date, Blumenreich predicts that the competition for spaces in future early college high school classes will be brisk, according to a BCCC news release.
“We had a wonderful first year due to the hard work and efforts of the students, faculty and staff,” Blumenreich said. “And we are looking forward to continuing the progress we made the first year.”
Sixty-five new ninth-grade students from across Beaufort County were chosen through a rigorous application and interview process to join the 46 students beginning their second year at the school.
The school’s students take high-school and tuition-free community-college courses and graduate in five years with a high-school diploma and an associate’s degree in the field of their choice. They could then either head into the work force with job-related skills or transfer to a four-year college.
Five new faculty and staff members have been added to the school as a result of the school’s expansion, bringing the total number of administrators, faculty and staff at the school to 12.
Joining the school this year are veteran teachers Jeannie Boyd, Anna Clingenpeel and Lynette Ware, counselor Ginger Jefferson and administrative assistant Joan Campbell.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Boyd, who will teach English III. “I wanted to become part of this school because of the innovation of the program, the creativity of the classroom and the commitment on the part of the students.”
Returning teacher Gladys Howell said her English I and English II students can look forward to the same type of rigorous course work that her students experienced last year.
“I’m very enthusiastic about the year ahead,” she said. “One of the most important things I will be doing is to make them rethink their attitudes towards school because we are getting them ready for college.”