02/05/09 — Specialty schools in search of students

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Specialty schools in search of students

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 5, 2009 1:46 PM

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Allen Lambert, a junior at Wayne Early/Middle College High School on the Wayne Community College campus, tackles online Spanish in the computer lab this morning. He is currently taking three high school classes and three college classes. This is the first year Lambert has been at WEMCH, where he said, "I love the hands-on work we do here. Since I have started here, my grades have just shot up."

The public schools' two newest non-traditional high schools are currently recruiting for the fall semester.

Wayne Early/Middle College High School and Wayne School of Engineering are accepting applications for incoming freshmen. The registration period ends on Feb. 27 for WEMCH and on March 30 on the School of Engineering.

Open houses are being planned at each school to allow parents and students the opportunity to learn more about the programs offered.

WEMCHS, located on the Wayne Community College campus, will hold open house Thursday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium. At that time, there will be a student and teacher panel, college information and a tour of the campus.

The School of Engineering, housed on the Goldsboro High School campus, will host open house on March 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Prospective students and parents will be given the chance to meet teachers and staff and interact with current students and teachers.

Representatives from both schools are currently visiting middle schools around the county, targeting eighth-grade students for the specialized programs.

Both schools say many students can benefit from their non-traditional approaches to education.

"Wayne Early/Middle College has experienced a successful beginning. We now have all four grade levels," said Lee Johnson, principal. "Our students are doing well with the high expectations and rigorous curriculum. Small class sizes and personalized education have contributed to our students' success."

The early/middle college high school concept was introduced locally in 2006. Students take both high school and college level courses at WCC. In May, the school will have its first two students graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year college degree.

Incoming freshmen in the fall will graduate with a two-year associate's degree or complete a college transfer program, allowing them to transfer as a junior to a four-year university.

Part of the state's "New Schools Project" funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WEMCH was designated a North Carolina School of Excellence for the 2007-08 school year.

Wayne School of Engineering, opened in 2007 through a Gates Foundation grant, was recently selected by the N.C. New Schools Project as one of four schools in the state to be a national learning lab. It also has partnerships with Boston Museum of Science, Wayne Community College and East Carolina University.

As part of its core requirements, the school will only accept rising freshmen ready to complete their high school career immersed in science, technology, engineering and math. Students also study robotics, bio-mechanics and other specialized courses, and have the opportunity to graduate with a two-year associate's degree or complete a college transfer program.

Since there are a limited number of seats available at each school, early enrollment and registration is recommended.

For more information on either program, contact Mrs. Johnson at 735-5151 or Gary Hales, School of Engineering principal, at 734-0070.