MaST moves in

Marine Science & Technologies Early College High School English teacher Kent Pittman arranges desks in his new classroom Thursday at Carteret Community College in Morehead City. (Cheryl Burke photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — It was moving day Thursday for teachers and administrators at Marine Science & Technologies Early College High School.

From arranging desks to hanging artwork, MaST staff and Principal DeAnne Rosen were busy organizing their new space on the first floor of the Michael J. Smith Library and Learning Resource Center at Carteret Community College.

“I am so excited to be picked as principal of MaST because this is such a wonderful opportunity for students in Carteret County,” Ms. Rosen said as she prepared to hang artwork in the front office area.

MaST English instructor Kent Pittman, a first-year teacher, was also looking forward to starting his career at an early college high school, which will offer pathways for students interested in a range of careers, from vocational to college transfer. The program allows students to gain high school and college credits simultaneously.

“I always thought early college high schools were a good idea,” Mr. Pittman, a Beaufort native and 2011 graduate of East Carteret High School, said. “We sometimes forget about students that can benefit from vocational and two-year degree programs versus four-year universities.”

Fifty high school freshmen are scheduled to report for their first day of classes Wednesday, Aug. 15, so school personnel were anxious to get into the facility. Plus, MaST is holding an open house for students and parents Monday, Aug. 13.

As well as organizing rooms, Ms. Rosen was busy meeting with guidance counselor Kathy Bernstein, CCC Vice President Tracy Mancini and CCC Dean of Arts and Sciences Doree Hill to discuss class schedules.

With two institutions that operate on two different schedules and policy requirements, the group had a lot of logistics to work out. For example, for bus transportation, students will ride buses to their feeder high schools, such as West Carteret or East Carteret. From there they will be transported by bus to the college.

School lunches will be brought over from the West Carteret High School cafeteria. In addition to students and staff being able to purchase meals, Ms. Rosen said college faculty and staff are invited to purchase lunches, as well.

“In the future we hope to open that up to the college students,” Ms. Rosen said.

Lunches will be eaten in the Bryant Student Center.

Ms. Rosen said once school starts, she and CCC student life coordinator Gabe Raynor plan to meet with students to gather ideas for clubs. She admitted she already had an idea for starting a school band.

“I play the trumpet and Gabe plays saxophone,” she said. “We’ve already been talking about starting a school jazz club and performing at special events.”

Students who applied and were accepted to MaST have expressed a variety of career interests. They include marine propulsion, marine biology and aquaculture, engineering, cosmetology, technology and graphic design, business, welding, electrician, nursing, university transfer and more.

More than 70 students applied earlier this year to attend the school. The 50 finalists were picked through a hybrid process that incorporated a rubric and a lottery. Applicants were ranked in 10 areas with a score. Students who scored the highest were placed in a randomly drawn lottery.

The eligibility requirements to apply were students at risk of dropping out of high school, students with parents who did not continue education beyond high school and high school students who would benefit from accelerated academic instruction.

As for the MaST facility, it contains four classrooms, a conference room, teachers’ workroom, counselor’s office and principal’s office.

The college renovated the space in preparation for the school’s opening and the county school system is funding four core personnel. They include a principal, guidance counselor, an English teacher and math teacher.

Guidance counselor Ms. Bernstein and math teacher Jennifer Doss transferred from Croatan High School to become a part of the MaST team. Ms. Rosen transferred from Beaufort Elementary School, where she was principal. Mr. Pittman interned last year at East Carteret High School prior to being hired to the full-time English position at MaST.

The college will provide additional instructors who will come to the building to teach, according to Ms. Rosen.

“They’ll (students) branch out for health and (physical education), and the college has installed a basketball goal and volleyball court,” she said.

Students will also be able to take electives offered by the college.

Ms. Mancini said the college faculty and staff were excited to see MaST open.

“The whole campus is excited about the energy and new life it will bring,” she said.

The school is starting with 50 freshmen the first year, and is scheduled to have 100 freshmen and sophomores the second year, 150 freshmen through juniors the third year and 200 freshmen through seniors the fourth year. That’s if state funding comes through for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Despite concerns about the lack of state funding, county commissioners voted in June to provide $186,358 to open the school.

County education officials had hoped the General Assembly would approve funding to open the school as part of their 2018-19 fiscal budget, in addition to a county contribution. The state’s budget, however, did not include MaST funding for 2018-19.

However, Superintendent Mat Bottoms and CCC President Dr. John Hauser told county commissioners in June that the state is scheduled to provide funding through a $180,000 grant the following five years.

In total, the school system has $311,358 for the early college high school’s inaugural year. Of that, $186,358 comes from the county and an additional $125,000 will come from the community college.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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