A $10.4 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help expand North Carolina’s high school reform efforts, including the North Carolina New Schools Project and the Learn and Earn program. That's according to Governor Mike Easley. This grant is in addition to the original $11 million investment made by the foundation in August 2003 to help develop new, smaller high schools in North Carolina.
The foundation’s new investment includes $9 million to plan and open additional redesigned high schools as part of the N.C. New Schools project, which focuses on the creation of small, economic-development themed high schools across the state. The new schools will emphasize innovative instructional practices and strong student support to better prepare students for college and skilled careers.
Through the grant, each new school will receive support to enhance professional development and strengthen partnerships within the state to ensure students are offered an academically rigorous curriculum and work-based learning experiences. Along with this, the foundation investment will also strengthen planning efforts for existing school projects.
The remaining $1.4 million of the grant will support the development of additional Learn and Earn early college high schools. Learn and Earn schools provide students with an opportunity to graduate in five years with a high school diploma and either an associate’s degree or two years of college credit.