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UCEC visited by New Schools Project official, Dr. Tony Habit

Dr. Tony Habit, at right, president of the North Carolina New Schools Project, spent the morning touring Union County Early College (UCEC) recently, talking to its principal, teachers and students to learn more about the five-year high school. Also pictured standing next to Habit is UCEC principal Victoria McGovern.

Administrators, teachers and students at Union County Early College (UCEC), a UCPS learn and earn high school, were very excited recently by the arrival of a very special visitor.
Dr. Tony Habit, president of the North Carolina New Schools Project, spent the morning touring the school, talking to its principal, teachers and students. He is touring early colleges throughout the state, gathering information as to how those schools are doing and what, if any, areas need improvement.
“I am very appreciative of him taking time to travel to this part of the state,” said UCEC principal Victoria McGovern. “But I wasn’t surprised. That’s the spirit of the program.”
McGovern said Habit’s visit is indicative of the ongoing communication that is done in the early college communities. “His visit is very symbolic of the close network that we have across the state with the principals of the other early colleges, with the instructional leaders, with the directors and the entire network that works with Dr. Habit.”
UCEC, which opened Aug. 14, 2006, on the South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) campus, makes it possible for students to get a college education, free of charge, while they work toward their high school diploma.
McGovern said UCEC is one of the top performing early colleges in the state. “Our End of Course tests are good; our dropout rate is low; our attendance is high and almost 80 percent of our students are enrolled in college courses,” she said, noting that the 20 percent is primarily made up of freshmen who do not take college-level courses that first-year students.
A large part of that success, she said, can be attributed to the teachers. “The faculty is constantly pushing themselves and learning just like the students are,” McGovern said. “Everyone does lesson plans, pacing guides and a syllabus. And they teach high school courses that are web enhanced.”
After his visit, Habit said he was impressed with UCEC. “There are a lot of hardworking teachers here, and the administration is obviously focused on individualizing the program to support every student,” he said.
Habit added that he could tell from talking to the students that they are excited about being students at the five-year high school.

Since its inception eight years ago, the number of early college high schools has grown in North Carolina to 70, Habit said. There are also early college programs in Georgia, Ohio, Texas, California, Utah and Michigan.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Mar 10, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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