NC Investing in Rural Innovative Schools

North Carolina New Schools: NC Investing in Rural Innovative Schools

As early college high schools continue to achieve great results across the state, North Carolina New Schools seeks to expand those strategies for students in traditional schools. Through a federal grant, NC New Schools is partnering with the State Board of Education, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the NC Community College System, the UNC System and 11 rural school districts to apply lessons learned from the state's growing number of early college high schools. The unique $16.5 million effort, supported by a $15 million grant from the Department of Education over five years with matched private donations of $1.5 million under the federal Investing in Innovations (i3) initiative, is aimed at exposing all high school students to a college-ready culture and creating new opportunities for all students to graduate from high school with some college credit.

Why this program?:
North Carolina Investing in Rural Innovative Schools addresses the unique challenges of high-need students in rural areas by radically changing expectations for college readiness, teaching and learning, personalization, professionalism, leadership, and school design with a program that is affordable and scalable for participating districts.

Where are the participating schools?
The program will bring NC New Schools’ proven Design Principles and research-based early college high school strategies into 18 traditional high schools serving high-need students. Partner school districts currently include the following counties: Alleghany, Beaufort, Bladen, Hertford, Jones, Madison, Martin, Rutherford, Surry, Warren and Yancey.

How many students will participate in the program?
The five-year grant will impact more than 20,000 students by 2016.

What will be different in the partner schools?
Through the program, each school and district will receive a portfolio of tailored and integrated services, including leadership and instructional coaching. Teachers will learn to provide students with a consistently rigorous environment where every student is challenged to read, write, think and talk every day in every class. Students will also receive financial and academic support to earn up to 21 college credits while still in high school, in addition to learning the college application process and the skills needed to succeed in college and careers. The program facilitates the use of online courses for students and teacher and administrator use of online tools for school improvement and professional development.

Program goals:  
This initiative aims to significantly improve student outcomes including:

  • Improved 4-year cohort graduation rate
  • Successful completion of college preparatory courses
  • Increased college credits earned

Program reports:

Partners include:

Funders include:

For more information, contact Dennis Davis at

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NC Investing in Rural Innovative Schools partner schools may receive up to 200 days of coaching in 1 year. More than 20,000 students will be impacted by NC Investing in Rural Innovative Schools during the grant.

School Data


Number of Schools with 100% 9th Grade Promotion in 2010-2011:


North Carolina New Schools Innovative High Schools


All North Carolina High Schools


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Map of North Carolina New Schools

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School Data



Number of North Carolina New Schools Innovative High Schools With Zero Dropouts in 2010-2011.