SANFORD – A major new opportunity has opened for Lee County Schools’ juniors and seniors to get a head start on their college educations – for free.
Thursday, Dr. Bud Marchant, president of CentralCarolinaCommunity College, and Dr. Jeffrey Moss, Superintendent of Lee County Schools, signed an agreement to create E-LeeCollegeAcademy. The academy concept is similar to one that Moss instituted between Beaufort County (S.C.) Schools and BeaufortCountyCommunity College while he served as superintendent there.
The Academy, a series of college courses taught via the Internet, offers college-bound high school students up to 45 semester credit hours. These General Education Core courses are part of the college’s Associate in Arts degree program. The courses and credits will transfer, intact, to colleges and universities in the University of North Carolina System. The students will also receive high school credit for them toward their diploma.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Learn and Earn Initiative will pay all tuition and textbook costs.
“This is part of our on-going cooperation with the school district to enable students to achieve college credit,” said Marchant. “It’s another example of the innovative programs that hold great promise for the students of LeeCounty.”
The college serves Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. Marchant said it anticipates building on similar programs with ChathamCountySchools and initiating similar programs with Harnett County Schools.
All Academy classes will be held on the LeeCounty and Southern Lee high school campuses, either in a computer lab or in a location where students will use laptop computers provided by the high schools. Classes will be held during the regular school day. Central Carolina C.C. faculty will teach the classes and the high schools will provide an online course facilitator in the classroom.
E-Lee College Academy will start in fall 2009. During their junior year, students will be able to take college-level history, English, math, and humanities classes in the fall semester, and history, English, and math during the spring semester. During their senior-year fall semester, students will take English, art, chemistry or biology. During the spring semester, they will take psychology, economics, and another course in the science they took in the fall.
Students who do not want to take the full load can enroll for as little as one course.
“We continue to strive to provide our students with opportunities that prepare them for 21st century careers,” said Moss. “The E-Lee College Academy will give our students an advantage as they compete for spaces at our universities.”
E-Lee College Academy is part of North Carolina Learn and Earn, an initiative of the UNC System and the state’s community colleges. Learn and Earn, launched in 2007 with funding from the General Assembly, was part of former Gov. Mike Easley’s efforts to reform public education in the state. Its goal is to provide college-level courses to high school students so they will be prepared to succeed either in college or in meeting the workforce demands of the global economy.
Through Learn and Earn, high school students can already take a variety of college-level courses online at no cost. Central Carolina Community College offers access to Learn and Earn. E-Lee College Academy builds on the success of Learn and Earn by offering a specific curriculum already approved for acceptance by the UNC System.
Lee County and Southern Lee high schools will host information sessions for interested students and their parents on Thursday, March 26. The Lee County High session will start at 6 p.m. and the Southern Lee at 7:15 p.m. Students and parents may attend either session. They can also contact the student’s school guidance counselor for information. April 15 is the deadline for enrolling for E-Lee College Academy for the 2009-2010 school year.