NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: NOVEMBER 14, 2011


Three schools designated as STEM Anchor Schools under the state's $400 million Race to the Top program launched in the 2011-12 school year, bringing enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics offerings to North Carolina high school students in three counties. A fourth will open its doors in the fall of 2012.

"Race to the Top is providing a wonderful opportunity for the state to develop schools that are focused on the economic challenges in the state," said Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. "We are excited to have these three innovative schools already up and running and preparing young people for the jobs of the future."

Bill Harrison, chairman of the State Board of Education, added that the themed high schools focusing on aerospace industries, health and life sciences, and energy and sustainability provide great examples of how business and educators can join together to make learning more relevant for young people. "That's going to be incredibly motivational, whether students go straight into the workforce upon graduation or choose to further their education," said Harrison.

The three schools are: Craven Early College EAST, focusing on aerospace and located in Havelock; City of Medicine Academy in Durham, focused on health and life sciences; and Wake NC State University Early College STEM School in Raleigh, focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education through the lens of the 14 Grand Challenges outlined by the National Academy of Engineering.

City of Medicine Academy and Craven Early College EAST were existing schools that received the anchor school designation and accompanying resources. Wake NC State University STEM Early College High School is a new school that opened its doors this fall. Its anchor responsibilities are still under discussion and anchor status is expected to be awarded in the near future. A fourth school, the North Carolina Agriscience and Biotechnology Regional School, is slated to open in 2012-13 in partnership with NC State University at the Vernon G. James Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Washington County.

As anchor schools, these campuses receive an enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum, staff development and coaching, equipment grants, and other benefits. In exchange, they agree to serve as models and share innovation with other North Carolina high schools.

In the next phase of development, 16 new affinity schools will open that affiliate with these anchor schools to adapt these innovative new models and reach even more North Carolina high school students with enhanced STEM education. "This is just one of several ways North Carolina is going to benefit from the Race to the Top grant," said Atkinson. "It's an exciting way to bring business into partnership with education to better prepare our state's workforce and open up new opportunities for young people."

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.