Innovation in Action

All schools partnering with NC New Schools follow a proven set of strategies known as the Design Principles, emphasizing personalization, college-readiness, professionalism, leadership and high standards. Within that framework, different schools are tailored to meet the needs of the community and students that they serve. These stories share a glimpse into the exciting things happening in our partner schools across the state.

  • Gravity Games: Not your average soap box derby
    Gravity Games: Not your average soap box derby
    Tri-County team builds race car

    For their entry into the Appalachian State N.C. Gravity Games, Tri-County Early College High School honors physics students built a car that would make a NASCAR design team proud. To be on the team, students had to have straight As in physics class and have no incomplete projects. Making the team were physics students Wade Covinton, Tim Duggan, Hannah Miller and Grant Taylor. Helpers included Andy Allen, Austin Rustauski and others.

    The Tri-County team spent more than 200 hours planning, assembling materials and building their design from scratch. Numerous test runs showed the vehicle had great promise. Unfortunately, the car crashed on one of those test runs and was too damaged to compete. But every one of the design team expressed joy and satisfaction at having worked on the car, regardless of the outcome.

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  • Early college grad finds success as welder
    Early college grad finds success as welder
    Partnerships between community college and industry play key role

    Beaufort County Early College High School graduate A.J. Middleton was among the first group of students to graduate from the school in May 2013, earning a high school diploma and two certificates in welding. Today he's working as a welder at VT Hackney's Washington plant while he continues to work on his associate degree from Beaufort County Community College. Along the way, he has overcome obstacles that have included the death of his stepfather and a period of time when Middleton and his mother were homeless and lived in his truck. Middleton's success is just one example of how BCCC and local industries join forces to give students the skills they need to succeed in jobs that are available in the region.

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  • Duke AHEC hosts high school scholars planning health careers
    Duke AHEC hosts high school scholars planning health careers
    City of Medicine partners with Duke Medicine

    The Duke AHEC Program Office hosts 25 high school students twice a month at Duke as part of their AHEC Scholars Program, one of Duke Medicine's key pipeline activities that aim to expose young people to a range of healthcare career options. The current 25 Scholars are 9th and 10th grade students from the City of Medicine Academy, a partner with NC New Schools, who were invited to participate in the year-long after-school program.

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  • Work-Linked Learning Creates Opportunities
    Work-Linked Learning Creates Opportunities
    Students at Wake Early College of Health and Sciences Benefit from WakeMed Partnership

    Strong and effective partnerships linking schools to business and industry have emerged as a critical underpinning of the kind of education students now need and the workplace demands. Nowhere is that more important than in STEM education and for STEM careers. An especially effective partnership between Wake Early College of Health and Sciences and WakeMed, one of Raleigh's major hospitals, is helping lead the way in North Carolina to the kind of work-linked learning that equips students with solid skills for careers and postsecondary education.

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  • Teacher externs learning and coaching through industry partnership
    Teacher externs learning and coaching through industry partnership
    ABB hosts two from Duplin County

    Science teacher George Bischoff and English teacher Brittani Mallard, both from Duplin Early College High School, were selected as ABB teacher externs this spring. A global leader in power and automation technologies, Zurich-based ABB -- with North American corporate headquarters in Cary -- is the largest supplier of industrial motors and drives, generators to the wind industry, and power grids worldwide. As a member of the NC New Schools Energy and Sustainability Industry Innovation Council, ABB offered this externship as part of the council's focus on deepening connections between industry and education through meaningful work-based experiences for teachers and students.

    In March, Bischoff and Mallard attended the ABB Automation & Power World Conference in Orlando, Fla. On a mission of true collaboration between education and business, they went to learn from the engineers and the engineers from them. While observing presenters at the conference in order to help engineers refine their training sessions for the 2014 conference, the two teachers were also able to make connections with industry experts that will influence their own classrooms back in Duplin County.

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  • STEM Early College experiment to be tested in space
    STEM Early College experiment to be tested in space
    Students to study effect of gravity on germination

    A team of high school scientists from The STEM Early College at N.C. A&T is interested in finding out if plants grow normally in zero gravity. Their findings could help grow crops in outer space one day to provide fresh food to astronauts, or in case people ever live on the moon or Mars.

    Six students will have the opportunity to test their experiment on the International Space Station later this year. As a part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, they will be among a select group of students who have had the opportunity to conduct research in microgravity. The STEM Early College is one of 17 student teams selected for the mission currently underway.

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  • Early College grad wins grand prize in national film competition
    Early College grad wins grand prize in national film competition
    Winning video promoting safe driving habits to be aired nationwide in Ad Council PSA

    Brittany Devasure, a 2013 graduate of Early College of Forsyth, has won a $5,000 scholarship from Project Yellow Light for her video that encourages peers to avoid distracted driving. She discovered a love for video with support from her teachers at Early College of Forsyth who gave students the choice of writing papers or producing videos for class assignments.

    "I always chose to do a video. If it wasn't for Early College teachers encouraging us to do video, I wouldn't have discovered my passion for it," Devasure added. "You can express more through video than writing."

    Devasure, a Crosby Scholar who received both her college high school diploma from Early College and Associate of Arts degree from Forsyth Tech during two separate graduation ceremonies on May 9, will attend Appalachian State University this fall on a full scholarship. She plans to major in communications and advertising.

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  • Early College EAST wins engineering competition
    Early College EAST wins engineering competition
    Group to present project in Germany

    The Early College EAST High School Engineering Club has won a trip to Hanover, Germany, in Phoenix Contact's Nanoline Contest. The company announced the winner on Saturday, February 16, to kick off its National Engineers Week celebration. The team, which  includes seven students in 9th-11th grades, placed third in last year's contest.

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  • Regional school recruits first class
    New STEM school coming to northeastern North Carolina

    The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience is accepting applications for incoming 9th graders -- deadline is June 1, 2012. The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience is an early college high school that is designed to serve as a statewide model school for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Ultimately, the school will enroll about 450 students in grades 7-13 from five counties offering the opportunity for all students to earn up to two years of college credit along with their high school diploma.

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  • Southern Redesign
    Durham school converts to four academies focused on energy and sustainability

    Big changes - and a very exciting future - are coming to Southern High School in Durham.

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  • SILSA: Where Inquiry Leads to Student Success
    SILSA: Where Inquiry Leads to Student Success
    Project-Based Learning Makes a Difference

    Now in its seventh year, SILSA is a member of the Health & Life Sciences Affinity Network, which is organized and supported by North Carolina New Schools. While not all students will go on to careers in these fields, the rigor of the coursework surrounding this theme and the other three "affinities" benefits young scholars regardless of their interests or aptitudes.

    Project-based learning, or PBL, challenges students on several levels both academically and personally, often resulting in greater comprehension of multiple disciplines and improved outcomes. It's a common approach in North Carolina New Schools-affiliated high schools in general and STEM schools in particular.

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  • Applying an Engineering Perspective
    Applying an Engineering Perspective
    Wayne School of Engineering

    Students from Wayne School of Engineering learn to use the engineering design process across the curriculum at their school. The fact that 93 percent of the Class of 2011 was accepted into a two- or four-year college is impressive, but even more so considering that 76 percent of the class would become the first in their families to graduate from college. In fact, creating environments that nurture first-generation college-goers is a hallmark of innovative North Carolina high schools inspired and supported by North Carolina New Schools.

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Number of North Carolina New Schools Innovative High Schools With Zero 9th Grade Dropouts in 2010-2011.