Guilford County high school students interested in health careers will soon have the option of going to school on the UNCG campus. Guilford County Schools (GCS) and UNCG are creating an early/middle college focused on health sciences that will open in the fall.
The early/middle college at UNCG will allow high school students to graduate with up to two years of transferable college credit and to explore a variety of health careers, including human services as well as medical fields, through a work-study program. Tuition-free early/middle colleges provide extra support for students who may be disengaged or who may struggle to adapt to the traditional high school setting.
“This partnership will benefit both the school district and UNCG, providing our faculty and students opportunities for community-engaged scholarship and mentoring,” said UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “School districts, like universities, are becoming more flexible to meet the needs of the 21st century. We’re proud to expand our longstanding collaboration with Guilford County Schools and to expand the choices available to high school students and their families.”
The school will enroll up to 50 ninth-graders in fall 2011 and will add as many as 50 more ninth-graders in each of the three following years for a total enrollment of 200. Staffing will grow from three full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions in the first year to 12 FTE teaching positions in the fourth year.
Funding for the school is expected to include federal dollars from the district’s Race to the Top grant and GCS Title I dropout prevention funds in addition to a donation from Businesses for Excellence in Education.
“Our experience shows that these schools work, and work well, for many students who may not have been successful in other settings,” said GCS Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green. “During tough budget times, it’s even more important to use proven ideas to expand educational opportunities for our students. We appreciate UNCG’s willingness to partner with us to create this new school.”
The UNCG representatives on the committee that prepared the plan for the school were Tom Martinek, professor of kinesiology; Celia Hooper, dean of the School of Health and Human Performance; and Bonita Brown, chief of staff. Martinek will serve as the school’s UNCG liaison.
The proposal has received enthusiastic support from local health care providers, including Moses Cone and High Point Regional health systems. Moses Cone, for instance, has 300 job openings, many requiring the knowledge and skills students will learn at the new school, according to Noel Burt, the health system’s executive vice president of administrative services.
The program at UNCG will be the eighth early/middle college in Guilford County. The others are located at Bennett College, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Guilford Technical Community College – where there are three – and N.C. A&T State University.
The district’s fair for magnet and choice schools, including early/middle colleges, will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Greensboro Coliseum Pavilion. GCS will accept early/middle college applications Feb. 19-March 18 for the 2011-12 academic year. For more information, parents should contact the GCS Magnet Office at 378-8832.
By Dan Nonte
Visual of Superintendent Maurice Brown at a recent event is courtesy Guilford County Schools