(Joining Our Businesses and Schools)

October 12, 2009

Opening Remarks were made by Walter Dalton, Lt. Governor and chair of the Commission.

Background Information –Legislative Research Staff – Dr. Shirley Iorio, Committee Analyst & Kara McCraw provided the background information on the following legislation:

  • Presentation (as background) of the 2003 Innovative Education Initiatives Act This act was established in 2003 to reduce the high school dropout rate, increase high school and college graduation rates, decrease the need for remediation in institutions of higher education and raise certificate, associate, and bachelor degree completion rates. The legislation further directed the Education Cabinet to establish cooperative innovative high schools, to close the achievement gap, create redesigned middle or high schools, provide high school programs that offer accelerated, higher level coursework or early graduation, establish high quality alternative learning programs and establish a virtual high school.
  • Presentation of the JOBS Commission Bill (SL 2009-339) The JOBS (Joining Our Businesses and Schools Commission) was charged with studying issues related to economic development in two ways: 1) Through innovative schools and 2) Through the readiness of a community to deliver the services that equip the workforce to be competitive in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) intensive economy. The Commission will meet in each of the seven economic development regions, make and monitor the recommendations to the State Board of Education and report to the General Assembly prior to the start of the short session.
  • Presentation of Early Colleges included information from an earlier report to Education Oversight on Learn and Earn Early College High School Initiative.  The Learn and Earn early college high school is expected to implement and exhibit a rigorous and far-reaching set of conditions to better prepare students for college and careers, to create a seamless curriculum between high school and college, and to provide work-based learning experiences to students. This presentation included an overview of the legislation, the implementation of the 42 Learn and Earn early college high schools, student enrollment, demographics and End-of Course test results. Presently, there are 70 early college high schools, the most in the nation, while California is second with 38 schools.  Sixty-nine percent of the students in these schools are first generation college-bound, but only 39 percent are categorized as being economically disadvantaged. Data collected from the Learn and Earn Early Colleges is currently being analyzed and will be available next year.

Early College (real life examples)

  • Wake Tech – Teresa Pierre, Principal of Wake Early College of Health and Sciences provided and overview of the program in Wake that is a unique partnership of a K-12 public school system and a major health care provider. This 5-year program provides students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, an Associate’s Degree and/or 2 years of university transfer credit in allied health fields. Currently 215 students are enrolled in the program with all students having access to Wake Technical Community College courses as early as their freshman year. To date 652 free college credits have been earned amounting to approximately $60,000 in tuition and fees, over the three year period. WakeMed Health and Hospitals provide career development opportunities such as mentors to assist students in career choices, CPR awareness training, job shadowing sites, and summer internship programs. The Wake Early College of Health and Sciences provides educational and work-based learning opportunities for students who will graduate ready to pursue a career in a health science field.
  • STEM School- The presentation was made by Martynez White and Justin Harmon from the Bertie County STEM High School. The program in Bertie was established in 2007 with approximately 60 students. Mr. White is currently a student at Bertie High School and his presentation included some of his experiences and the opportunities afforded him through this Early College STEM program. Justin remarked that the STEM School helped him develop a better attitude towards his studies and it has been essential in helping him prepare for college. Kezia Lee, Math teacher and Sharon Tann, Guidance Counselor also shared information based on their perspective of working in the program. Members were interested in whether there was any data showing how this collaborative model improves student achievement over traditional instruction, current enrollment, and the cost of the program. Dr. Iorio indicated data is being analyzed by the New Schools Project staff and will be submitted to the Commission at a future meeting. She also addressed questions regarding teacher quality and staffing for the program.

Career-Ready Commission: Superintendent June Atkinson- reported on the work of the Career-Ready Commission. Their work will include raising the graduation rate and having students, college and career ready upon graduation. The Commission will study career academies, early college high schools, STEM schools, NC New School Project and Project Lead the Way in an effort to develop a successful, sustainable model. It will be necessary for business and industry to be involved with the development of the Career Clusters and to align them with future economic development. The Commission has proposed the following three recommendations: 1) change course and shift the educational culture, 2) connect K-12 classrooms to college, careers, and the business community and 3) collaboration for workforce and economic development.

DPI Career Clusters: Felicia Gray- Watson – explained Career Clusters. They are broad groupings of occupations and industries with a common set of knowledge and skills, Pathways, programs of study, and plan of study. There are 16 Career Clusters that have been developed by the USED and various Career and Technical Organizations and Committees. Each Career Cluster will contain 2-7 Pathways for a total of 79 Pathways. The Career Clusters are classified as follows: Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Architecture & Construction, Arts, A/V Technology & Communications, Business Management & Administration, Education & Training, Finance, Government & Public Administration, Health Science, Hospitality & Tourism, Human Services, Information Technology, Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security, Manufacturing, Marketing, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and Transportation, Distribution & Logistics.  A chart showing employment trends in NC by Career Cluster in 2006 and projected to 2016 was provided.  The Health Science Career Cluster indicated 2006 employment at 340,240 and at 449,140 in 2016 an increase of 108,900 while for the same period Manufacturing was shown to have 490,820 in 2006 and 470,140 projected for 2016, a decline of 20,680.  Hospitality and Tourism also indicated a 10-year increase of 105,970 over the 2006 figures. In conclusion, a brief overview of the new North Carolina Careers (Career Clusters Guide) was presented together with a list of websites pertaining to Career Cluster information.

NC Chamber: Lew Ebert, President – In traveling throughout the State, Mr. Ebert reports business leaders are noticeably paying more attention to three major issues: 1) In 5-7 years there will be a shortage of skilled workers in the NC workforce, 2) There is a need to increase the graduation rate and 3) There is very strong job competition throughout NC. Each of the seven economic regions in the state may require different skill sets based on the diversity of businesses locating in these communities.  Students will be required to learn new skills, such as in the area of manufacturing. Although NC is still a large manufacturing state, the manufacturing workforce is now highly skilled and more technical with higher paying salaries. Students will not only be required to have a basic education, but they will be required to be life-long learners and have the ability to work and collaborate with others across the nation and in the global market. It is essential that we develop a strong economic growth plan for the future.

North Carolina’s Eastern Region: John Chaffee, President & CEO presented an overview and history on the development of the seven economic regions in the state.  The group was founded in February 1997, the North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development (NCPED), a 501 (c)(3) corporation. They believe innovation-based economic development principles should apply regionally and that this offers the ideal strategy for bringing new jobs and global investment to North Carolina. The organization is comprised of the state’s seven regional economic development partnerships: The seven regions are classified as Advantage West (23 counties), Charlotte (12 counties), NC Eastern (13 counties), NC Northeast (16 counties), NC Southeast (11 counties), Piedmont Triad (12 counties) and RTP (13 counties). Each region is unique with different needs and the one size fits all is NOT an option. The North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development is working together with the NC Department of Commerce to create a stronger job market and provide regional flexibility in building a stronger economy.

North Carolina Community College System: Dr. Scott Ralls spoke about his involvement with the Early Colleges in Craven County. He emphasized the importance of the 3 R’s: rigor, relevance and relationship, of which, he indicated he thought relationship was the most important.  The key to student success was stated simply as: someone having a vested interest, support from the community and guidance and goals beyond high school. Dr. Ralls spoke briefly about the Early College Initiative.


(Joining Our Businesses and Schools)

October 13, 2009

NC Stem Advisory Panel- Mr. Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC addressed the Commission and talked about the number of students (60 percent) who need remediation when they enroll in college. Sixty percent of jobs require technical degrees. Education must be relevant for students and this requires a fundamental change in the way we educate our children. There were three communities chosen to participate in initial STEM partnerships. They are Davie County region, BRAC region (11 counties including Cumberland) and Lenior County. There are four remaining regions left in the State to be addressed. The key is engagement in these areas with the community to develop solutions. The community must find resources to build the partnership.  Whatever plan is designed for these partnerships must be agreed upon, have accountability measures, and be sustainable. Mr. Freddoso is very connected with the program and its efforts and excited about the community participation. He gave examples of how life has changed with respect to adapting to new technologies and used the radio, which he said took 38 years for people to adopt, yet in stark contrast it only took 2 years for people to engage in Facebook technology. The workforce must be prepared for the ever and fast changing regional economies in NC. It’s going to take planning to be prepared to meet the challenges facing our students coming out of high school and college, in becoming 21st century employees. He praised the efforts of the Governor and others in moving ahead in technology innovation and connectivity and talked about the fast growing on-line classes being taken by students, today.

Karl Rectanus, Director NC STEM Community Collaborative provided a series of recommendations for the JOBS Commission to consider including; statewide policy for scaling education innovation, models, investment and economic development opportunity, incubation zones for education innovation, networking of communities, schools and businesses.

North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP): Dr. Tony Habit reviewed the project and presented information about NCNSP efforts in the state and showed the members where the early colleges and redesigned high schools are located in NC. He talked about how difficult change and transformation are in many communities. The results of these schools show more students are staying in school, more 9th graders are being promoted, student achievement on state tests has increased, and teachers are more positive about the innovative schools and their success with students. He reviewed the different types of programs, STEM (science technology engineering and math), Health and Life Sciences, biotechnology and redesigned schools (including Learning Laboratories. There are still challenges going forward. They include; 1) strong resistance to change, 2) lack of urgency for higher standards aligned with new workforce requirements, 3) essential requirement for sustained, high quality and school embedded professional development and 4) the need for a transformational approach to the education pipeline in NC. In 2008-2009 there were 9,968 students enrolled in early college. The performance composite of the students for high and expected growth was 85.7 percent.

Next Meeting:  The Commission will meet at least once in each of the seven regions.  The November meeting is scheduled for Williamston, NC with a tentative date of November 18.

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