State’s STEM high schools celebrate first graduates

June 9, 2011

North Carolina STEM high schools will graduate more than 90 percent of its inaugural 9th grade classes, the North Carolina New Schools Project proclaimed Tuesday.

A group of 10 start-up high schools was launched four years ago with an ambitious goal: boost the achievement of students who would have otherwise attended high schools that a state judge had threatened to close because of low performance.

This spring, those new schools are proving that a clear focus on teaching and learning, matched by high expectations for every student, can open opportunities for students who might have failed and dropped out under the kind of circumstances born of low expectations.

Instead, nearly every one of those small “turnaround” schools – which all share a common focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – are graduating at least 90 percent of the students who entered as the inaugural freshman class four years ago.