For the second consecutive year, Lenoir County Early College High School has joined an elite group of public high schools in the state that achieved a 100 percent graduation rate.
Early College retained its membership in the 100% Graduation Club when all 28 students who entered as freshmen four years ago graduated in 2016. The high school achieved the same honor with the Class of 2015.
In the state, only 62 high schools earned the 100 percent award. Dr. June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, and her colleagues at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction praised them and other top high schools and public school districts in the state during the Graduation Achievement Awards luncheon held Tuesday in Raleigh.
"Collectively, your efforts and those of many others across the state have helped North Carolina continue to make steady progress on the crucial goal of ensuring that all students graduate from high school – and graduate ready for the changing world that awaits them,” Atkinson told school leaders at the event. "Your schools are demonstrating that our goal can be reached."
LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams, Early College principal Diane Heath and Nicholas Harvey II, who was principal at Early College for three years before becoming the district's assistant superintendent this past summer, attended the event.
"I welcome this recognition for Lenoir County Early College High School. I join Dr. Atkinson and the leadership team at NCDPI in congratulating our LCECHS for their hard work and tireless dedication to the mission of helping every student to experience the success of graduating high school," Williams said. "Our Early College High School truly is a model of excellence in education. This recognition represents strong affirmation of the outstanding work every day from the LCECHS staff, the students, former principal, Mr. Nicholas Harvey and current principal Mrs. Diane Heath."
"The 100 percent graduation rate recognition is a direct reflection of the hard-working students and dedicated teachers and staff of the Early College High School," Harvey said. "I am very proud of our students and look forward to following their continued success."
Heath pointed out that seven of the 62 schools honored are located in neighboring counties of the state's southeastern region. All follow the early college model, which allows students to pursue simultaneously a high school degree and an associates degree from an affiliated college. Lenoir County Early College High School students take college courses at Lenoir Community College, where the high school is housed.
"We are very proud of being recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for the second year in a row," she said. "The dedication, support, and commitment of our students, parents, staff members, district, and partners for our vision, mission, and goals make this honor possible. We will continue to do all that we can do to ensure success for all of our students this year and in the coming years."
The state’s four-year cohort graduation rate has climbed from 68.3 percent in 2006, when North Carolina first adopted the outcome measure, to 85.9 percent in 2016.
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